Normally, I'm not a huge fan of Mondays. I look at my "Things to Do List" and feel overwhelmed. Well, not today. Sure, my "To Do List" is long and getting longer, but this morning I was lucky enough to meet five inspiring Whitney Young High School students. With Teacher Brian Sievers, they work in a lab at the University of IL-Chicago creating biodiesel from donated used oil, e.g. soy, canola.
Their fuel powers anything that runs on diesel, like the Truck Farm we'll be introducing next month (and Chicago's Fresh Moves Mobile Market). The benefits of re-using waste and burning biodiesel are, to start, reducing disposal/landfill fees (saving money) and lowering air pollution (and higher healthcare costs). For more, check out one of their websites.
Not only are they learning about solving problems and making a difference once they graduate, they are doing it today. As a team, utilizing their different strengths, they secured sponsors and donors and, of course, put the system together and got it working. Yes, Brian Sievers, the Whitney Young Teacher, is an expert, but he's clear about one thing: it's the kid's project. He's there giving his free time and providing support and guidance, but it's the students who are 'running the show.'
So, while CBS TV cancelled their appearance and Senator Durbin only sent an aide, it's neat seeing kids solve real problems and understand that the 21st century is the most exciting time in the world to be alive.
P.S. More to follow on Truck Farm Chicago (whose biodiesel will come from these students). Today was also a good day because Green Teacher, the magazine, gave An Environmental Guide from A to Z, a fantastic review :)