Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
Students recognized at KGHS/KY NEED Youth Summit, Awards Luncheon

Press Release Date:  Thursday, April 23, 2015  
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 23, 2015) – Students and teachers from across the Commonwealth were recognized April 23 for their participation in project-based learning programs during the eighth annual Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools (KGHS) and Kentucky National Energy Education Development (KY NEED) Youth Summit and Awards Luncheon in Frankfort.

All award recipients completed a rigorous program of research and school improvement in at least one of nine topics in health and environmental sustainability. A total of eight schools received KGHS awards this year for leading efforts to save their schools money, reduce harmful environmental impacts, reduce energy consumption and improve student health. Participants showcased their projects to other student leaders. Additional students and schools were honored for their efforts in the KY NEED Project.

“One of my favorite parts of the youth summit is visiting the student exhibits and learning about environmental sustainability from the students’ perspectives. Their enthusiasm tells me that they enjoy project-based learning opportunities, and their narrative makes it clear that they are learning science, math, and language arts skills while improving conditions in their schools and communities in real-world ways. I am thrilled that KEEC can help facilitate student civic engagement through the program,” said KEEC Executive Director Elizabeth Schmitz.

KGHS Coordinator Michelle Shane said 268 schools in 73 counties are currently enrolled in the program which began in 2007. The KGHS program is co-administered by the KEEC and the Kentucky Department of Education.

“The KGHS program is a wonderful opportunity for students to engage in hands-on learning, and also to be introduced to new career fields,” Shane said.

Students at Pikeville High School and West Hardin Middle School continue to inspire other schools as they again accomplish the Model Kentucky Green and Healthy School status (MKGHS) status, the highest level in the program. Model schools serve as mentors to other KGHS schools, and continue their school improvement projects above and beyond the required nine categories.

This is the second consecutive year that Pikeville High School has achieved this level, and the third year in a row that West Hardin Middle School was recognized as a MKGHS. Both schools revisited at least one category during the school year and submitted a new project report form for at least one new project.

Four schools worked closely with students to achieve KGHS status, the second-highest level in the program, and will receive a KGHS Flag. They include Kit Carson Elementary School of Madison County, Morton Middle School of Fayette County, and Portland Elementary School and Virginia Chance School of Jefferson County.

Additionally, Dishman-McGinnis Elementary School of Warren County will be receiving the KGHS Flag award as a school built to achieve environmental sustainability. It is the last school that will receive a flag under this category, because the built KGHS school qualification has been discontinued to allow the program to focus on engaging students in using the school buildings and grounds as a learning laboratory.

One school, Sayre School of Fayette County, will receive a bamboo plaque to honor their completion of three categories and achieving the School In Progress award status.

“The Green Team from Virginia Chance School in Louisville has led their school in several environmental projects over the last three years, all under the guidance of the Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools program. The team of students has chosen projects that fulfill each of the nine KGHS categories to ensure they address a wide range of environmental issues and that they meet the requirements to become a Kentucky Green and Healthy School,” said Sarah Cummins, of Virginia Chance School.

“Striving for that goal has kept the students and faculty motivated and encouraged, and participating in the KGHS program has empowered the students to implement positive change and become environmental stewards. Thanks to KGHS, Virginia Chance School has made significant environmental progress that is now reflected throughout our school.

Leslie Meredith, of West Hardin Middle School in Hardin County, received the 2015 KGHS Teacher of the Year Award for her efforts during the 2014-2015 school year and many years leading up to this award.

For more information about the KGHS program, visit or contact Michelle Shane at or 502-564-5937. To contact the KEEC, visit or call toll-free (800) 882-5271.