South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Sarah Beth Martin
Contributing Writer 

Phillips K-5 students win district-wide energy conservation awards


Phillips students celebrate their success at the 22nd annual S.E.C.T.E.M. awards ceremony, held at the Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers on Dec. 19. Back Row: Cassidy Grentz, Janya Dixon, Alex Mann, Judy Sigal (Phillips S.E.C.T.E.M. coordinator), John Grimm, Martin Boonstra (Phillips principal); Middle: Dale Egenlauf, Tanise Pryer, Jazyon Carson; Front: Marca Cantu, Maggie Martin, Catherine Perekiszka.

Pittsburgh Public Schools held its 22nd annual S.E.C.T.E.M. (Student / Employee / Community / Teamed for / Energy / Management) awards ceremony on Thurs., Dec. 19, where Phillips K-5 was recognized for its outstanding energy conservation efforts, and two of its students received district-wide awards for their energy conservation posters.

The S.E.C.T.E.M. program is an energy conservation awareness program implemented in every school throughout the Pittsburgh Public Schools school district. It represents a partnership between Pittsburgh Public Schools facilities/plant operations, students, and community organizations and businesses, and is designed to get students more involved in energy conservation and equip them with the energy-saving knowledge and experience that will help them preserve our world and its resources.

S.E.C.T.E.M. operates on a $35,000 budget, to be used toward incentive awards, plaques, grants for S.E.C.T.E.M. supplies and an energy-saving manual for each school. From that budget, it awards plaques and monetary awards, ranging from $500 to $1,000, to schools for their energy conservation efforts and improvements to their energy efficiency scores. It also sponsors an annual energy conservation poster contest each year, with plaques and monetary awards going directly to the winning students. Open to all district students, the poster contest is divided into five categories based on grade level, and each division has a first, second, and third place winner, awarded $100, $75, and $50, respectively.

This year, Phillips received a $500 award for energy conservation, and was honored to have two students recognized in the K-2 division of the poster contest. Kindergartener Maggie Martin earned first place for her poster, and second grader Marca Cantu took second. The young ladies celebrated their success at the awards ceremony on Thursday morning, and were cheered on by their Phillips S.E.C.T.E.M. Patrol, a team of eight students who enforce energy conservation in the school, and whose diligent service was instrumental to Phillips' school award.

Maggie and Marca join a long line of Phillips students who have been recognized with S.E.C.T.E.M. awards. According to Phillips S.E.C.T.E.M. coordinator and fourth grade teacher Judy Sigal, the school has produced numerous poster winners since the program started in 1991, and is regularly recognized for its energy conservation.


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