Anna Bell herself encouraged her school to sign up for the Green Schools Challenge, making Ben Franklin the first school in the state to “Accept the Challenge.” She continued to display her leadership outside of her school’s own project by starting a Green Schools Challenge Blog and Facebook Page; leading a team of over 40 volunteers for Green Apple Day of Service; presenting the student perspective on Green Schools as a featured speaker at the USGBC Louisiana Sustainability Series; and taking an award-winning photograph that was honored on a national level by the USGBC Center for Green Schools.
During a press conference hosted by Verges Rome Architects, at Ben Franklin High School, USGBC Louisiana announced the winners of the inaugural Louisiana Green Schools Challenge. Mr. Charles Allen, Director of Environmental Affairs for the City of New Orleans, presented remarks on behalf of Mayor Mitch Landrieu, before an audience of school students, faculty, Green Schools Challenge Sponsors and Mentors, and USGBC members gathered at Ben Franklin’s Diversity Garden. Announcing the Green Schools Challenge winners at the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels, were Patty Riddlebarger, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Richard Hartley, Director of Special Projects for the Lt. Governor’s Office, and James Garvey, Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). Prizes for the inaugural Green Schools Challenge were sponsored by Entergy, presenting over $15,000 in cash and prizes to schools all over Louisiana.
The mission of the Louisiana Green Schools Challenge program is to educate schools across the state about the benefits of green building and environmental stewardship by participation in hands-on real world projects. The Green Schools Challenge seeks to empower teachers and students by giving them the resources to make healthier and more productive classrooms. Through this program, school buildings become living teaching tools, where kids gain first-hand experience in issues of sustainability. In only its first year in Louisiana, forty Louisiana schools signed up for the Challenge, exceeding all expectations.