Author: Hannah Henry
Published: Tuesday, 12 Sep 2017
How would your teenage-self make a change for the future of your home state with $10,000?
This was part of the challenge the high school students involved in Junior Achievement of Northern California's Social Innovation Camp encountered when they were brainstorming ways to bring about public awareness to the effects of climate change on the San Joaquin Valley.
The heat was on as 10 teams of high school students, who were complete strangers, gathered for 30 minutes to come up with a plan to address the issue at hand with a limited budget. They then were tasked with creating a presentation to display their plan to a panel of student and teacher-chaperone judges.
The high schoolers showed their innovative thinking by coming up with solutions that ranged from envisioning matching-grant social networking challenges and PSAs to conceptualizing recycling programs that targeted elementary schools.
Dina Siebenaler, an economics teacher at Kingsburg High School, commented, "It was a great experience for the students and they definitely learned a lot about public speaking, working with students from other schools, and researching a difficult social issue to inspire our community to make changes."
The winning team came up with a plan that addressed the drought issue of the San Joaquin Valley, which has plagued this California region for many years. The San Joaquin Valley, according to Suburban Stats, is home to over 685,000 people, all of whom depend on water to drink, bathe, grow crops, and hydrate livestock. The solution of student Noelia Avila's winning team revolved around an app that could track real-time water usage in homes so that households could be more aware of their water intake.
The winning team benefitted from more than the financial and climate challenge when they were asked about their experience. "I enjoyed how we were treated as adults to make the choices about our project. I also enjoyed that our group was independent to make our own decisions. I learned that it is difficult to put yourself out there in a situation where you don't know anyone besides people at your school," Avila said. "I also learned how important it is to work with everyone in your group, even if it is sometimes difficult to agree on the direction of the project."
The runner-up team planned to implement an educational campaign, which included an app to teach elementary school children about the drought in the valley as well as learning the ways they could save water.
Throughout the competition, one thing was certain, California's future looks brighter with the help of these innovative students.
To learn more about students who have made an impact on their community click HERE
Brown, Laura . "Students tackle climate change ." The Kingsburg Recorder . N.p., 21 July 2017. Web. 8 Aug. 2017.<http://hanfordsentinel.com/kingsburg_recorder/news/students-tackle-climate-change/article_9bc4ff11-a8a9-5eda-a0f1-17003068cc6a.html>
Junior Achievement Student
"Junior Achievement has given me a sense of what adults go through with budget issues."
Junior Achievement Student
"I liked how the Junior Achievement volunteer explained his job to us."