Business and community leaders descended on Bremerton High School last week to participate in the school’s second annual Energy Week event.
Energy Week is a three-day event at the high school, which started Wednesday morning and culminated in a series of presentations and competitions on Friday.
Bremerton partnered with Washington Business Week in 2012 in order to bring its expertise to the high school. Business Week is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1976 by then president of Central Washington University James Brooks.
The nonprofit’s goal is to better prepare high school students for life after graduation in the business world. It does most of this work through summer sessions at Washington state’s four year universities, but occasionally brings its method directly to a select number of high schools each year.
When Business Week and Bremerton teamed up, the two groups decided to take a specific approach and focus not just on business, but on sustainability and green business.
“We feel that really is where jobs are going to be coming from in the future,” said Emily Wise, who teaches green technology and sustainable design at BHS.
Bremerton has a number of classes and programs focused on the environment and sustainability, including Advanced Placement Environmental Science and Wise’s green technology class.
“We’re committed to making our school known for its sustainability programs,” said AP environmental science teacher Briana Faxon.
Last year around 60 students from the environmental science and green tech classes participated in the event. This year students from Wise and Faxon’s classes, as well as students in engineering and financial literacy programs, participated in the multi-day event.
More than 100 students from these classes were split up and placed into nine groups for the event. Each group was given an advisor from the community and set to work on a green energy business pitch.
All nine groups were given specific objectives to do a home energy audit, build a sustainable home model, build a working wind turbine and give an oral pitch to potential investors.
Community leaders like Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent and representatives from Puget Sound Energy played the role of investors. In a mock trade show on Friday, the investors filed into the BHS library with handfuls of fake cash to invest in the most promising groups.
Wise and Faxon said the Energy Week event helps their students understand the practical aspect of sustainable energy and design. They also said it helps students begin to take ownership of a business model, meet specific deadlines and work with adults.
Students filed out to eat lunch after the investment portion, returning 30 minutes later for the event finale — the wind turbine power lift. Each group brought up its functioning wind turbine, which hauled a miniature bucket of nuts and bolts powered by nothing but the air from a fan.
A group named FEET, Friendly Environmental Energy Technology, received the most financial backing from investors in order to win the trade show with the motto “Reducing our carbon footprint one step at a time.” FEET proved to be a sound investment when its wind turbine took top honors by hauling the most weight of any group.
The group Evergreen won the board presentation competition by having the best oral sales pitch.