STEM Spotlight: Oklahoma students raise funds for solar panels – KOCO Oklahoma City

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TO INSTALL SOLAR PANELS AT THEIR MIDDLE SCHOOL. YEAH, THIS IS SUCH A COOL STORY. A FEW YEARS AGO, A GROUP OF MIDDLE SCHOOLERS CREATED THE CLUB STUDENTS FOR SOLAR THAT WAS AT IRVING MIDDLE SCHOOL IN NORMAN. NOW THIS CLUB IS ALL BASED OFF OF STUDENT IDEAS AND HARD WORK. IN FACT, THE SOLAR PANELS WERE INSTALLED AT THE SCHOOL JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO. WE TELL KIDS TO DREAM BIG ALL THE TIME, BUT THEN WHEN WE ACTUALLY GET TO SUPPORT THEM TO MAKE THEIR DREAMS HAPPEN LIKE, WOW, FIVE YEARS AGO, A GROUP OF SEVENTH GRADERS FROM IRVING MIDDLE SCHOOL WERE CONCERNED ABOUT SCHOOL FUNDING AND THE ENVIRONMENT. ONE OF MY STUDENTS CAME TO ME AND SAID, HEY, MISS VAUGHN, WHY DON’T WE HAVE SOLAR PANELS ON OUR SCHOOL? AND I WAS LIKE, THAT IS AN EXCELLENT QUESTION. AND STUDENTS FOR SOLAR WAS BORN. NOW, IN 2024, A NEW GROUP OF MIDDLE SCHOOLERS ARE PAVING THE WAY. WE MADE A LOT OF PROGRESS. IT’S IT’S REALLY COOL. AT THE END OF DECEMBER, A 36 SOLAR PANEL SYSTEM WAS INSTALLED AT THE MIDDLE SCHOOL. WE GOT LIKE OUR LIKE, SOLAR PAGODA. SO IT’S LIKE AN OUTDOOR CLASSROOM, BUT IT ALSO HAS SOLAR PANELS ON TOP. THOSE PANELS NOW GENERATE ELECTRICITY FOR THEIR SCHOOL. WE THINK OF IT MORE AS A PROOF OF CONCEPT. SO IT’S SOMETHING THAT CAN BE DONE. CUTTING THE ELECTRIC BILL AROUND 5%. WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE OTHER SCHOOLS TO HAVE IT. THESE MIDDLE SCHOOLERS ARE MOTIVATED, PASSIONATE AND CARE ABOUT THE WORLD AROUND THEM. I’VE ALWAYS HAD THE THE THE WANT TO KEEP THE ENVIRONMENT CLEAN AND CLEAN ENERGY AND ALL THAT PRESERVE THE EARTH THAT WE LIVE ON. AND SOLAR PANELS REALLY HELP US WITH THAT. IT’S COOL TO SEE HOW, JUST LIKE THIS ONE GROUP OF MIDDLE SCHOOLERS CAN MAKE SUCH A BIG IMPACT. AND WHAT WE CAN DO IF WE PUT OUR MINDS TO IT AND WE WANT TO SHOW THAT TO OTHER MIDDLE SCHOOLS AND MAYBE HELP THEM CATCH ON. AFTER LEARNING ABOUT SOLAR POWER, ADVOCATING AND SEEING THE PANELS INSTALLED AT THE SCHOOL, WE’RE JUST LIKE TAKING THAT STEP FOR PEOPLE AND SO PEOPLE CAN LIKE, TAKE INITIATIVE AFTER WE HAVE THE STUDENTS ARE NOW GENERATING THEIR NEXT IDEA. IF I COULD HAVE IMAGINED HOW THINGS WOULD TURN OUT FIVE YEARS AGO, I THINK IT’S EVEN BETTER THAN ANYTHING WE COULD HAVE IMAGINED. IRVING MIDDLE SCHOOL SAYS THEY’RE THE ONLY PUBLIC SCHOOL IN OKLAHOMA WITH DUAL USE SOLAR PANELS, AND THEIR HOPE IS TO GET OTHER SCHOOLS TO JOIN IN ON ADDING PANELS AND HAVE THEIR STUDENTS LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SOLAR INDUSTRY. NOW, THE SOLAR INSTALLATION IS SPONSORED BY OG AND EY, BUT THE STUDENTS PUT IN A LOT OF HARD WORK WITH OTHER FUNDRAISERS FOR STUDENTS FOR SOLAR TWO. IN FACT, THE STUDENTS HAVE A5K SUN RUN ON SATURDAY, APRIL 20TH THAT YOU CAN ACTUALLY REGISTER FOR TO HELP THEM RAISE MONEY. WE HAVE INFORMATION ON THAT ON OUR WEBSITE. AND OF COURSE, YOU CAN JOIN US EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 4 P.M. FOR STEM SPOTLIGHT WITH ME, METEOROLOGIST, SABRINA BATES AND OF COURSE, IF YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS OF ANY EDUCATOR, STUDENTS OR PROGRAMS THAT ARE ST

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STEM Spotlight: Oklahoma middle school students raise funds for solar panels, inspire others

Students at Irving Middle School in Norman successfully raised funds to install solar panels at their school, aiming to inspire other schools to follow suit.

Students at Irving Middle School in Norman have successfully raised funds to install solar panels at their school, a project initiated by a student-led club called Students for Solar| MORE | STEM Spotlight: Here’s a list of summer camps in Oklahoma for kids interested in STEM”We tell kids to dream big all the time, but then when we actually get to support them to make their dreams happen. Like, wow,” said Laura Vaughn, a seventh grade science teacher at the school.The idea for the project was born five years ago. “One of my students came to me and said, ‘Hey, Miss Vaughn, why don’t we have solar panels on our school?’ And I was like, ‘That is an excellent question,'” Vaughn said. Fast forward to 2024, a new group of middle schoolers have taken the reins of the Students for Solar club. “We’ve made a lot of progress. It’s really cool,” said Phoebe Bisel, an eighth grader at the school.By the end of December, a 36 solar panel system was installed at the middle school. “We’ve got like our like solar pagoda. So it’s like an outdoor classroom, but it also has solar panels on top,” Bisel said. >> Download the KOCO 5 AppThe solar panels now generate electricity for the school, cutting the electric bill by around 5%. “We think of it more as a proof of concept. So it’s something that can be done,” Vaughn said.The students’ initiative has not only made a difference in their school but also aims to inspire other schools. “We want to encourage other schools to have it,” said Alexander Okafor, a seventh grader at the school.The students’ passion for the environment is evident through their work in the club. “I’ve always had the want to keep the environment clean and clean energy and all that, preserve the earth that we live on. And solar panels really help us with that,” said Addy Lewis, another eighth grader.Get the latest news stories of interest by clicking here.The students are now brainstorming their next big idea. “If I could have imagined how things would turn out five years ago, I think it’s even better than anything we could have imagined,” Vaughn said.Irving Middle School is currently the only public school in Oklahoma with dual-use solar panels. The school hopes to inspire other schools to install solar panels and educate their students about the solar industry.The solar installation was sponsored by OG&E, but the students also put in a lot of hard work with other fundraisers for Students for Solar. The students are organizing a 5K Sun Run on Saturday, April 20th, to raise additional funds.Top HeadlinesWoman charged in deadly crash allegedly used ‘whippets’ while driving, passenger’s family asks for changeRumored ‘moonshine cave’ found in grandstands of stock car speedwayCalifornia family reunited with dog after she was found more than 2,000 miles away in MichiganLouisiana murder suspect crashes into Norman family’s apartment, leaving them in financial distress’Oh no, not my truck’: Video shows homeowner confronting thieves trying to steal his vehicle

Students at Irving Middle School in Norman have successfully raised funds to install solar panels at their school, a project initiated by a student-led club called Students for Solar

| MORE | STEM Spotlight: Here’s a list of summer camps in Oklahoma for kids interested in STEM

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“We tell kids to dream big all the time, but then when we actually get to support them to make their dreams happen. Like, wow,” said Laura Vaughn, a seventh grade science teacher at the school.

The idea for the project was born five years ago.

“One of my students came to me and said, ‘Hey, Miss Vaughn, why don’t we have solar panels on our school?’ And I was like, ‘That is an excellent question,'” Vaughn said.

Fast forward to 2024, a new group of middle schoolers have taken the reins of the Students for Solar club.

“We’ve made a lot of progress. It’s really cool,” said Phoebe Bisel, an eighth grader at the school.

By the end of December, a 36 solar panel system was installed at the middle school.

“We’ve got like our like solar pagoda. So it’s like an outdoor classroom, but it also has solar panels on top,” Bisel said.

>> Download the KOCO 5 App

The solar panels now generate electricity for the school, cutting the electric bill by around 5%.

“We think of it more as a proof of concept. So it’s something that can be done,” Vaughn said.

The students’ initiative has not only made a difference in their school but also aims to inspire other schools.

“We want to encourage other schools to have it,” said Alexander Okafor, a seventh grader at the school.

The students’ passion for the environment is evident through their work in the club.

“I’ve always had the want to keep the environment clean and clean energy and all that, preserve the earth that we live on. And solar panels really help us with that,” said Addy Lewis, another eighth grader.

Get the latest news stories of interest by clicking here.

The students are now brainstorming their next big idea.

“If I could have imagined how things would turn out five years ago, I think it’s even better than anything we could have imagined,” Vaughn said.

Irving Middle School is currently the only public school in Oklahoma with dual-use solar panels. The school hopes to inspire other schools to install solar panels and educate their students about the solar industry.

The solar installation was sponsored by OG&E, but the students also put in a lot of hard work with other fundraisers for Students for Solar. The students are organizing a 5K Sun Run on Saturday, April 20th, to raise additional funds.


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