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Greenlight Award Winners 2024

On Sunday, April 21st, 13 high school teams from seven Westchester high schools and youth groups gathered to present environmentally focused projects pursued during the current school year, under the guidance of Louise Alverson, Greenlight program manager. Held in conjunction with Bedford 2030’s Earth Day, the event took place at the Bedford Hills Community House, a recently renovated 100-year-old clean energy building. Following the presentations, teams, judges, and supporters joined the Earth Day celebration at the Bedford Hills Train Station to announce the results of the competition and this year’s winners.

Project Slideshow

The school projects focused on a diverse range of environmental initiatives, including waste management, energy efficiency, and pollution reduction. Initiatives such as composting, waste management improvement, and the redistribution of school supplies aimed to minimize waste while supporting communities in need. Strategies like strategically placing charging stations for electric vehicle adoption and promoting “Meatless Mondays” in school lunches contributed to energy conservation and reduced carbon emissions. Other projects addressed lesser-known pollution concerns, such as preventing cooking oil waste from entering drains and advocating for sustainable alternatives in construction materials. Two standout projects introduced innovative solutions: repurposing cardboard for biodegradable packaging and developing an AI technology device for instant environmental education. These projects showcased a commitment to sustainability and creative problem-solving among the participating students.

Eight judges from a variety of corporate, entrepreneurial and philanthropic backgrounds were invited by Bedford 2030. They listened to team presentations, engaged in follow-up questions and evaluated projects based on a 7-part scoring system.  They were tasked with the difficult job of identifying teams with the most impact or potential for impact to reduce our carbon footprint – in line with Bedford 2030’s ambitious emission reduction goals. Here are this year’s winners:

First Place

Carter Medved, first place winner

First place, with a cash prize of $500 was awarded to Carter Medved, a member of Westchester Youth Congress and an Edgemont Jr./Sr. High student, for his project, “Powering Families Towards Sustainability.”

His impactful campaign to incentivize homes to adopt the Grid Rewards program, reducing carbon-intensive peaker plants’ reliance on electricity needs, impressed the judges. His successful outreach convinced the judges of the project’s potential for lasting impact.

Making it to the finals requires planning and persistent effort, especially amidst the pressures of high school and extracurricular activities. These students have truly become changemakers in their communities."

Second Place- Tie

Westchester County Legislator Erika Pierce, Illaria Liedtke and Michael Goneos, joint second-place winners

 

Joint second-place was awarded to “ecoTouch”

Illaria Liedtke and Michael Goneos from Rye Country Day School introduced an AI technology device to promote instant environmental knowledge across all age groups through voice activation. They successfully demonstrated the device’s capabilities in both English and Spanish to the audience.

Westchester County Legislator Erika Pierce and joint second-place winners, ” Waste Wizards.”

Joint second place was also awarded to “Waste Wizards.”

Their project focused on ispiring the improvement of waste management within the Rye County Day community,  through education and awareness of local environmental justice issues.

“You were able to influence and make changes at the level of a large food service provider,” he said. “That is remarkable.”

Third Place-Tie

Westchester County Legislator Erika Pierce and Ian Cavalluzi, a past Greenlight Award winner from Yonkers

Tied for third place was Ian Cavalluzi’s “EcoBoard.”

Cavalluzzi, a past Greenlight Award winner from Yonkers, presented a new engineering-based project that repurposes cardboard to create strong, fully biodegradable packaging, eliminating traditional PVA (microplastic) often used in ‘green’ products. Its cost-effectiveness makes it appealing for businesses to adopt.

Westchester County Legislator Erika Pierce with Sarah Hu and Aleena Ahmed of Edgemont Environmental Club

Also tied for third place were Sarah Hu and Aleena Ahmed of Edgemont Environmental Club with  “Greenburgh Curbside Composting.”

Their project focused on encouraging participation in the composting drop-off program in Greenburgh while gathering support for a town pickup program.

 

Honorable mentions:

Books 4 Bronx – Strong long-term impact potential
Katheryne Ramos – John Jay HS

Catalysts for Composting: Advocacy at JJHS – Excellent project research and analysis
Hanna Zhao, Mitzi Chan, Megan Hume- John Jay HS

Concrete SustainabilityMost ambitious, big picture changemaker
Dakota Cameron – John Jay HS

Greenlight Recycled Art Show – Outstanding school and community engagement
Josh Greene, Blake Jachman, Johnny Gasparro and Mikey Pedone – Rye Country Day School

Meatless Mondays Continued – Most persistent problem solving
Austin Omin, Luke Pinney – John Jay HS

Plastic for Art – Excellent execution of project goals
Brianna Urgiles – Peekskill HS

Recycling Cooking Oil – Excellent targeted waste-reduction topic
Jahneil Palmer, Kalyn Chisholm, Felicity Jefferson – Environmental Leaders of Color (ELOC)

Team EV – Highest potential for meaningful GHG reduction
Matt Denker and Rohan Venkatraman – John Jay HS

“This program reflects the belief in our youth to be action-oriented environmental influencers.  Bedford 2030 is delighted to offer a platform that empowers students to make real change. The program is designed to give power to their voices and actions, provide funding where needed, and help them realize the extent of their capabilities, building both skills and a confidence that they can carry forward with them."

Bedford 2030 is grateful to sponsors Hickory & Tweed,  Curtis Instruments, Susie’s Smart Breakfast Cookie,
and the Town of Bedford  for their ongoing support.

This annual competition is open to all high school age students across Westchester and kicks off in October each year. To learn more about the Greenlight Award™, visit bedford2030.org/greenlight/ or email greenlightaward@bedford2030.org