Standing ‘O’ for BHS students
November 24, 2006
Four Basalt High School students recently received a standing ovation from a group of more than 400 civic educators from around the world following their presentation at the annual national Project Citizen Coordinators’ Conference in Denver.Teacher sponsor Ben Bohmfalk said the BHS students were selected to present their Project Citizen portfolio at the conference as a model of what a good project looks like. BHS Seniors Hanna Kelly, Cassie Meyer, Wylie Chenoweth and Max Harlow presented their solar energy study that originally was outlined to Town of Basalt leaders last school year.
“They did a great job and were the only students invited to present at the conference,” Bohmfalk said. “They received a standing ovation from the crowd and were complimented by judges and educators for their understanding of the issue and their reasonable proposal.”The students presented at the national conference after being recognized for the most outstanding high school project in Colorado last May at the state capital.
In the Project Citizen proposal, the students suggested that Basalt leaders change the guidelines for the Renewable Energy Mitigation Program to make the program more effective in encouraging solar panels and other renewable energy sources used by homeowners. The students explained the problems associated with nonrenewable energy sources as well as the alternative policies for solving these problems. The students’ proposal suggested requiring houses larger than 3,000 square feet, instead of the current 3,500 square feet, to mitigate their excess energy use. The students also outlined an action plan for gaining public support.The students’ work began during their junior year in Bohmfalk’s Fundamentals of American Democracy class. Through Project Citizen, students get involved in developing solutions to real world problems and then present their ideas to key decision-makers in the community.
Bohmfalk said another group of BHS students will present a similar project to a state conference of civic educators in December.Project Citizen is sponsored by the Center for Civic Education (www.civiced.org), a non-profit organization that is funded partly by the U.S. Congress and partly by private donations. The organization coordinates many successful civic education projects across America and across the world, including a teaching trip Bohmfalk took to the Czech Republic last school year.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.