Sam Rayburn High School's EcoSquad won second place in the state and was honored at the National Youth Awards Ceremony by the National Energy Education Development (NEED) organization in Washington D.C.
Recent Sam Rayburn graduates Sunni Frias and Malynda Benedetti were responsible for the winning entry and accepted the award, along with their teacher, Jennifer Stewart. The "Texans Take Action" project promoted energy conservation in their school. Students started a recycling program in the school, run by the club, where baskets were placed into every classroom and collected once a week by the club to be placed into a recycling bin. They also rehabilitated the school's Ecology Center by adding an organic garden, making garden boxes, creating compost, and planting vegetables and herbs.
"I am so proud of our Rayburn students and how much of an active role they took in this project," Stewart said.
The group from Sam Rayburn submitted a scrapbook detailing their project to the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project for review. The national awards review panel, composed of leaders from the energy, education, and government sectors, met to review more than 60 projects that had previously been judged "best in state" by NEED's regional and state offices.
The Sam Rayburn students and their teacher were able to attend the awards ceremony through the generosity of the TXU Energy Solar Academy.
"Students from these programs have exhibited student leadership, community outreach, and initiative as it relates to energy education, conservation, and energy efficiency," said Michael Grasso, chief marketing officer for TXU Energy. "These students are our future, and we want to encourage their academic interest in renewable energy."
For more information about the TXU Energy Solar Academy, visit