District News

Twin Rivers Students Lighting Up Lives in Kenya

Foothill High students in Choices New Energy Academy

Students in a classroom in Kenya now have light so they can study in the evenings for their national exams. No one is happier for them or more proud than a group of Foothill High School students who built Solar Suitcase #660 to provide light at Emalindi Primary School in Khwisero District, Kakamega County, an extremely rural area about a 7-mile drive from Nairobi.

"Seeing the pictures of the classroom, especially, it was inspiring, to be honest," says 15-year-old Donovan LeCompte, a sophomore. "In the pictures I saw a couple of fantastic smiles ... my stomach churned a little bit. I got butterflies thinking that these kids were actually supported and helped by a simple classroom of individuals ... seeing science like this, solar panels and seeing just the alternative forms of energy that we can provide for the world ... it's fantastic."

The Twin Rivers students are part of Foothill High's Choices New Energy Academy. In collaboration with PG&E and We Share Solar, students receive unfinished solar kits they must put together. The kits are equipped with everything required to build a stand-alone 12-volt DC solar power system. We Share Solar ships the kits to underdeveloped countries.

"This is a great program that we are fortunate to be able to do," says teacher David Yeroshek. "Last year we did four kits, this year one ... part of what we try and do in class is educate students about energy poverty. For a large part of the world, especially Africa, the most common method of indoor lighting is a kerosene lamp or candle. And being able to have a clean and reliable source of electricity for lighting is incredible."  

Solar Suitcase #660 was installed on May 24 in the classroom in Kenya. The Foothill students received photos and a letter of appreciation from Emalindi Primary School. The impact of their work at Choices New Energy Academy is humbling.   

"I feel happy that we got to help other people and give them a chance to have lighting to do their school work," says 15-year-old Delaney Moore. "It was a fun project and I thought about where the solar kit would end up and how it would help ... we have so much and they have so little. The students look happy in the pictures to have lighting."

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Posted May 2017