By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – The school colors at Father Judge High School for Boys are blue and red, but two science classes are going green.
Environmental and physical science students at Father Judge High are building a wind turbine that will generate energy to light a memorial dedicated to alumni who have lost their lives in service to others.
Junior Mycol Dennis said the use of alternative energy piqued his interest in the project. “It is a good feeling that we are doing something productive for the environment,” he said.
Senior Charles Greghini is happy he is helping to make history at Judge for generations to come. “I think it’s kind of cool that we were the first ones to do this in our high school. I feel honored to be able to leave a legacy.”
They are among 20 science students – two seniors, eight juniors and 10 freshmen – who are working on the project under the direction of their moderator, Nora Kasper, an environmental and physical science instructor at Judge.
Kasper and her student scientists are working with United Front, a grassroots group of young adult environmentalists from Northeast Philadelphia that promotes the sustainability of alternative energy in a community.
The goal is to introduce to other schools the wind turbine pilot program that the Judge students aptly named wattage (wind activated turbine to achieve green energy).
“I want them to become – and feel as if they have the power to be – stewards of their environment,” Kasper said.
“This goes beyond turning the faucet off when you brush your teeth,” she said.
In her science classes, Kasper teaches students how, inside their homes, they can go above and beyond “reduce, reuse, recycle,” she said.
The wind turbine project takes those lessons a step further.
The group’s first meeting was in late February. If everything goes as scheduled, the work on the turbine will be completed by early May.
The memorial to alumni who lost their lives as police officers, firefighters and other service professionals will be displayed on the front lawn of the school, near a pre-existing memorial dedicated to alumni who lost their lives during the Vietnam War.
The 6-foot-tall wind turbine will operate through the propulsion of wooden blades which will drive a low-speed permanent magnet alternator to change mechanical energy into electrical energy through a car battery, which in turn will cause floodlights wired to the battery to light.
“The battery is a free source of energy,” Kasper said.
The students work on the project after school hours. “They’re totally committed to this,” Kasper said. “To have teenagers stay after school on a Friday afternoon until 6 or 6:30 p.m. says a lot about their commitment to this project.”
Although the freshman class had the day off from school one recent Friday, the budding young scientists reported to school to work on the turbine. “I am very honored and happy to be there with them,” Kasper said. “This is where education should be.”
For more information, contact Father Judge High School at (215) 338-9494.
CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.