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1-24-22 — West Named 2021 Kansas Green School of Year

Jan. 24, 2022 ~ Solar panels, laser engraving machines, air tightness testing simulator, solder iron, farm bots, and 3D printers are not typically found in a classroom. But the Green Tech Academy is not your typical classroom.

Olathe West High School junior Peyton Phillips has always had a passion for improving the environment and a desire to be an engineer. She was surprised to learn that those two could go hand-in-hand.

“Green Tech Academy students explained to me that they got to learn about the engineering field along with the environment to learn how to build a career and support your community with this education,” Phillips said.

She has been able to do just that. Throughout her years in Green Tech, she has been able to get involved with the community through career events and partnerships with other companies and universities.

“I have had the opportunity to visit the Capitol in Topeka for WEALTH (Water, Energy, Air, Land, Transportation, and Health) Day to speak to state representatives about what I would like to see for a greener Kansas,” Phillips explained. “I appreciate that Green Tech has helped me gain my voice in the environmental world and be able to share it often.”

Although the Green Tech curriculum is designed to teach about all aspects of the environment, Phillips believes that she has learned valuable life and technical skills for her future.

“I have been able to gain strength in public speaking and learn different hands-on skills, such as welding and 3D printing and design, which most students don't get the chance to learn about in a normal classroom,” Phillips said. “Thanks to the academy, I know how to speak to those educationally and factually above me while managing to maintain their trust and my creditability as a high school student.”

With their efforts, Olathe West was named the 2021 Green School of the Year Award by the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education. A Green School is a healthy, environmentally friendly space to work, learn, and play, which incorporates quality, non-biased environmental education across the curriculum, using the facility and grounds themselves as opportunities for educational experiences.

Phillips and the rest of the class held up their plaque proudly, grateful to be named the 2021 Green School of the Year, with the goal to inspire all schools to do their part and become greener for the better.