Judges score the 2007 Caring for the Kenai finalists presentations at the KCHS Little Theatre.
Molly Watkins, a Kenai Central High School sophomore from Rick Frederic’s science class, took first place honors and a $1,500 cash prize in the 17th Annual Caring for the Kenai” (CFK) competition sponsored by Chevron and Agrium. Watkins impressed the judges not only with her research on replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact florescent light bulbs (CFL) but with her efforts to get local residents to make the switch and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. At the Home Show recently Watkins partnered with Homer Electric Association at their booth to get local residents to make the switch by giving away CFL bulbs and information to visitors.
CFK Finalists earned over $26,000 in cash awards.
Taking second place was the team of Tristin Rutherford and Stacey Edgmon from Phil Morin’s class in Nikiski, who won $1,000 cash with a program they created entitled WAVES, standing for Wildlife Avalanche Volcano and Earthquake Safety.
In third place and claiming an $800 prize was the team of Jasmine Klauder and Deandra Latz of KCHS who produced an interpretive exhibit which will be featured at this summer at the Kenai Visitors Center.
Taking fourth place honors and $600 was Brooke Jasky-Zuber a student at Skyview High School in Mr. Schmidt’s class who created a district wide recycling program for schools. Coming in fifth and winning $450 was another KCHS student Maya Johnson who proposed a plan for worm composting in schools to reduce waste.
Sixth place and $300 went to the team of Tyler Bethune and Alex Ross who initiated a Pike-A-Palooza fishing derby to prevent Northern Pike from spreading to the Kenai River.
In addition to the $6,000 in cash awards for the finalists this year Agrium, Chevron and the Kenai River Sportfishing Association awarded $20,000 to the science departments of schools that participated in CFK 2007. This year SOHI, Nikiski, Ninilchik, Kenai, Skyview and Homer all used CFK as part of their classroom curriculum. Each school receives $750 for participating and the remainder of the $20,000 will be allocated proportionately to how their students placed last night. Additionally, over 40 semi-finalist entries received special recognition awards from community sponsors.
Other CFK finalists who earned $150 cash for their oral presentations last night were Chris Nolden from SoHi, with his idea for gasoline conservation. Ben Ransom from SoHi produced an environmental education video for schools. Anastasia Matasova from KCHS presented a plan to reduce moose road kills. Lacey Norman of SoHi made a board game similar to Shoots & Ladders that teaches youngsters playing the game how to protect the Peninsula. Wiley Bennett from Nikiski High had a plan where recycling could become profitable for the Borough. The team of Eliza Chadwick and Lacy Carlson of Nikiski made a personal disaster preparedness kit to help families survive the first 72 hours of a natural disaster.
In addition to the cash awards all finalists received a hooded CFK sweatshirt and locally made wooden mechanical pencil with the CFK logo and the statement “I did it!” “I’ve had the privilege of being a judge several times, but this year’s presentations and ideas were by far the best I’ve seen overall, the students were all fantastic and it made it very difficult to judge because they were all good enough to win,” said John Zager, Chevron Alaska General Manager.
Monday April 30, all finalists and guests will attend an awards banquet hosted in their honor by Chevron and Agrium at The Crossing Restaurant in Soldotna. The banquet will feature Joe Rizzo of the Triumvirate Theatre. All 500 students who participated in CFK 2007 with receive the CFK hand crafted mechanical pencil
CFK Oral Presentation Judges included Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor John J. Williams, KPBSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donna Peterson, John Zager, Chevron Alaska General Manager, Jessica Moore Kenai Watershed Forum Board of Directors, Deric Marcorelle from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Ricky Gease Kenai River Sportfishing Association Executive Director, and last year’s CFK winner, Thomas Kircher. “I have to say it was a lot harder being a judge than winning the contest last year,” commented Kircher. The oral presentation program was streamed live over the internet to an international audience and is available for viewing at www.caringforthekenai.com.
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