High School Students Leading the Charge to Make a Historic Stadium More Sustainable
By Emily Usaha
San Diego High School, located in the heart of San Diego, was founded in 1882 and is one of the oldest public high schools in California. The school has a rich history, which includes the construction of a castle-like building called "The Old Gray Castle" in 1907 and the Balboa Stadium in 1914. The San Diego Chargers used the Balboa Stadium as their home field for six seasons. Over the course of its history, San Diego High School has grown in student numbers as the city expanded, and as a result new buildings were built and renovations made. Today, San Diego High School is divided into three small theme-based schools including the School of Business and Leadership, School of International Studies, and the School of Science and Technology serving over 2,500 students.
U.S. Marines creating an American flag at Balboa Stadium in 1932
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Within the School of Science and Technology lives the GeoTech Academy, a small learning community serving students who are interested in focusing their studies on engineering and design rooted in sustainability and clean technologies. As Jackie Rivers, one of the six lead teachers of the academy, described it, “Geotech is a community and one big family. When any of our students are struggling they have a whole dedicated team they can go to”.
Jackie’s students working with SEI and the San Diego Electric Training Institute to install a mobile ground mounted solar array.
During their four years in the GeoTech Academy, students are exposed to mentorships, internships, field trips, guest speakers, and hands-on projects to prepare them for careers in STEM fields. This school year, the GeoTech Academy is launching a multi-year interdisciplinary project called the Eco-Friendly Stadium Project with a vision to transform the historic Balboa Stadium into “a totally carbon neutral and innovative, eco-friendly sports arena.” Through their science, english, AVID, and engineering courses students will dive into clean energy sources and human impacts on climate change, gaining design software and persuasive writing and speaking skills. They will develop team management and organizational tools with the ultimate goal of designing and implementing an eco-friendly renovation of Balboa Stadium.
Rivers, who teaches engineering at the GeoTech academy, has been implementing SEI's Curriculum in her Green Up and Go course for over the past three years. Through her Career Technical Education (CTE) courses, students will work on the design element of the project and use modeling software to develop renderings of the renovation plans. Students will present final pitches to a panel of industry professionals as a culmination of their hard work. To learn more about the amazing efforts of students and teachers to reduce their carbon footprint and revitalize this historic stadium, check out their website.
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The SEI Team
Environmental education and workforce development experts share stories from the field