Since the program’s inception, $4 million in scholarships and grants have been awarded to middle and high school students for their distinguished projects.
“Through this program, more than 25,000 participants have demonstrated that they want to make the world a better place. by coming up with real-world solutions to environmental challenges, students are learning how they can make a difference in the world around them,” Lexus group vice president and general manager Mark Templin said.
This year, more than 400 teams registered to represent nearly 3,000 students nationwide. In total, $500,000 in grants and scholarships were awarded to honored student teams. Finally, two Grand Prize winners were selected and awarded $30,000 each, while eight First Prize winners were awarded $15,000.
A two phase challenge, the first required teams to address concerns on land, water, air or climate and to create ways to make a difference for the environment in their local communities. The final phase would challenge teams to bring the projects beyond their local community and to inspire environmental action around the world.
The first Grand Prize winner was team “the Green Musketeers” of Jericho High School in Jericho, New York. After successfully creating their own filtration system, the students intend to patent the project, to sell it and to direct the profits towards developing systems in third-world countries.
The second Grand Prize winner was team “One-Towel Wonders” from SCAPA Bluegrass in Lexington, Kentucky. The students demonstrated how the simple idea of using one towel per person, per week could benefit the environment.
Pleased with the honor, “One-Towel Wonders” teacher advisor Ashlie Beals praises the Lexus program.
“For the past five years, all of my 8th grade students have worked in teams to create and implement innovative campaigns to encourage others to make one small change that can have a large positive impact on our environment,” she said. “My younger students eagerly look forward to their chance to participate in the challenge when they are in 8th grade.”
GALLERY: Lexus Eco Challenge