MUNSTER | A team of seven juniors from Munster High School is one of 8 teams nationwide to earn $10,000 in scholarships and grants in the Lexus Eco Challenge Air and Climate competition, a contest that inspires and empowers young people to learn about the environment and take action to improve it.
The Munster High School team, Tommy Bolanowski, Luis Dominguez, Akhilesh Mishra, Saam Mojtahed, Colin Richter, Akash Shah and Joe Yurek, also qualified to participate in the Final Challenge for a chance at one of two $30,000 grand prizes.
Munster's winning entry was part of the Air and Climate Challenge. The team’s project checked the effect of regularly changing the PCV valve on a car by having it tested at an Indiana vehicle emissions test center.
“What is so amazing about this project is the ambition and brilliance it took to come up with it,” said Patrick O’Neill, science teacher at Munster High School and teacher advisor to the PCV Patchers. “It’s hard to believe a group of high school students can reimagine the operation of cars and find a way to reduce emissions, but that’s exactly what they’ve done.”
The students changed an old PCV valve out of a car and found the car went from failing the emissions test to passing, and that they significantly reduced the emission of greenhouse gases. They went on to spread the word and found out that most people are not aware of the PCV valve and do not change it regularly.
They encouraged people to pledge to change their PCV valves more regularly.
“The Lexus Eco Challenge gives teens the opportunity to change the world, starting with their community,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “With the Final Challenge of this competition, we want to see how they can use their skills and grand ideas to improve the environment in the world at large. We look forward to seeing what they can accomplish.”
The Final Challenge is taking place this month, with winners announced in March. For more information on the Lexus Eco Challenge, visit: www.scholastic.com/lexus.