A Lesson on Solar Power and Community Service
Tinton Falls, NJ – Seniors at Trinity Hall, an all-girls college preparatory high school, led a solar power workshop for middle school girls on November 14, 2017. The workshop, held in the school’s STEM labs in Tinton Falls, was both charitable in nature and educational for the participants, thirty-six girls from grammar schools in Monmouth County. After beginning with an informative presentation on the design process, renewable energy, and how solar power specifically functions, the girls started the hands-on building of two separate projects.
The first project the girls worked on was a recreation of the international “Liter of Light” solar bottle project. From the Liter of Light website www.literoflightusa.org ):
“Through a network of partnerships around the world, Liter of Light volunteers teach marginalized communities how to use recycled plastic bottles and locally sourced materials to illuminate their homes, businesses, and streets.
Liter of Light has installed more than 350,000 bottle lights in more than 15 countries and taught green skills to empower grassroots entrepreneurs at every stop.
Liter of Light‘s open source technology has been recognized by the UN and adopted for use in some UNHCR camps. Liter of Light is the proud recipient of the 2016 St. Andrews Prize for the Environment, the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize, and a winner of the 2014-2015 World Habitat Award.”
The bottles built by the participants reflect sunlight so brightly that light bulbs are no longer needed. This is especially useful in communities that suffer from “energy poverty” www.literoflightusa.org. Jackie Fletcher, a 12th grade student and leader of the workshop, said, “This is helpful given rising electricity costs and the fact that many homes in urban, impoverished communities around the world are built so close together that natural light is unable to filter into the home.” Each workshop participant created one bottle of her own, which translates to one donated solar bottle-bulb for over 35 families.
For the second workshop project, the girls created solar-powered lanterns for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. This project and its recipients were chosen when Fletcher contacted representatives for the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. After assembling the solar cell, light, and mason-jar lantern, over thirty-five light-sensitive jars shone brightly and were ready for use.
Fletcher added, “Of course, no Trinity Hall event would be complete without some friendly competition and prizes in the form of a ‘Kahoot!’ game at the conclusion of the workshop. The game demonstrated just how much the girls retained from the day’s events.”
Fletcher was impressed with the workshop turnout and the completed projects finished by its participants. “These girls completely exceeded my expectations,” said Fletcher. “I’m always surprised at how much middle school students already know and how competent they are. For me, being able to see them meet potential new friends while engaging in hands-on activities that will ultimately benefit others was the best part. After everyone left, I just couldn’t help but stare at the sixty-plus mechanisms we created. It’s crazy how much change a group can impart when they work together and I hope that feeling of inspiration is something everyone took home with her.”
Trinity Hall, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), is an independent all-girls college preparatory high school, educating and empowering young women in the Catholic tradition. Trinity Hall’s core values of leadership, respect, perseverance and faith are foundational to their mission and work as educators. For more information, visit www.trinityhallnj.org.