February 5, 2016

Middle school students win grant for video

Amy Cunningham

Spring Hill Middle School students found out Friday that a lot can be accomplished in 60 seconds.

Several eighth grade students were honored for their efforts in producing a 60 second video for

Spring Hill Middle School students display the awards they received for a video they produced for Heartland Utilities for Energy Efficiency. The video touted the benefits of making one’s home more energy efficient. Submitted photo

Heartland Utilities for Energy Efficiency (HUEE). On Friday the group was invited to a luncheon reception where they accepted a $3,000 grant after being announced the contests winners.
HUEE board member Mary Kay Villegas-Alitz, an energy applications specialist for Independence Power Light, helped judge the contest.

“The Spring Hill video was very well put together, there was a flow throughout like it was a true commercial,” Villegas-Alitz complimented the students.  “We just thought it was amazing to see what these middle school students are capable of.”

The students, led by Spring Hill technology instructor Tom Carbajo, submitted their spot this spring, they were informed of their first place finish in mid-May.

“We were all ecstatic,” exclaimed SHMS student BayLeigh Stanley on finding out about the group’s first place finish.  “We were just so excited!”

“We didn’t even know there was a prize,” added classmate Tessa David.

Working together the students crafted the video touting simple improvements homeowners could make around the house to help become more energy efficient.  They researched different environmentally friendly solutions such as installing new windows, insulation, and Energy Star rated appliances – they also delivered easy to understand descriptions on how to decipher each item’s efficiency rating.

The video also encourages residents to make simple, affordable changes around the home that homeowners could complete without a large investment.  They suggest switching out standard light bulbs for ones that are more energy efficient, turning off lights when not in use and unplugging appliances when they aren’t in use for saving energy.

Villegas-Alitz said that the student’s video will be presented to different professional boards throughout the year.  She also said that it would be placed on the HUEE website where visitors can view the video at their leisure.

“We looked at which one (of the submitted videos) could be used as a true commercial piece – did (the video) cover all of the components of energy conservation, was the video entertaining,” said Villegas-Alitz.

Along with their contest entry, students were required to submit to the committee how they would use their grant, should they win.  According to Carbajo, the students worked with the school’s principal and maintenance staff to come up with a use for the prize money.  The group decided the money would best be spent outfitting the commons area with more energy efficient light fixtures.

Watch the SHMS video here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLp0bz-m2ig


  1. Perhaps the city of Gardner could take some pointers on what can be accomplished by using your brain a little bit instead of paying a consultant over $1 Million to do the same thing…………….so many projects the bureaucrats and the politicians call in the consultants, etc. to do what they should be doing and it is costing the citizens an arm and a leg………..more and more I want all government entities showing me their checkbooks on their websites so all of the citizens can see where the money is going………I am sure many, many would be surprised and disgusted with how the money is being spent and perhaps then they would start making some needed changes by showing up at the voting booths informed and educated on important issues.

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