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Magnet school wins $5,000 for carpool program
Magnet students 5K check for carpool campaign from Sustainable America IMG 3365
Sustainable America Director Jeremy Kranowitz presents a $5,000 check to the Magnet Environmental Action Team, represented by Carson Norwood, co-presidents Ray Garner and Katie Mitchell, faculty advisor Tiffany Shoham, an AP Biology/Anatomy teacher. - photo by Michelle Kim

The Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology was awarded a $5,000 grant today from a national non-profit for a campaign to promote carpooling using students' favorite morning treat - chicken biscuits.

The idea is to encourage students to carpool by giving them a free chicken biscuit for every fifth time they ride with other students in cars driven by parents. Students would keep a card that gets marked every time they car pool.

"Hopefully it'll lower the amount of gas consumed to drive around," said junior Ray Garner, the co-president of the Magnet Environmental Action Team club, which applied for the grant. Magnet students mostly know each other but live scattered across the county, he said.

Club Co-president Katie Mitchell said students already love Chicken Biscuit Fridays and already do many environmental activities. 

With this campaign, she said, "you'll get something out of it."

Club advisor Tiffany Shoham, an AP Biology/Anatomy teacher at the school, explained that parents buy chicken biscuits from Chick-fil-A and sell them students for a slight profit to raise money for school activities.

Some of the activities that the student body and MEAT club to promote sustainability include collecting recyclables, participating in community clean-ups and turning off lights during "black out" days. 

The Sustainable America non-profit, which focuses on issues of fuel and food sustainability, challenged STEM high schools at last November's National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science, and Technology conference to come up with an idea to reduce fuel use or food waste. About eight projects were submitted from six high schools across the country, and Rockdale Magnet School's proposal won because of it's possible impact, measurability and simplicity, said Sustianable America's Executive Director Jeremy Kranowitz.

He urged students to think about the amount of fuel wasted by idling cars or by throwing away produce shipped from far distances. 

"It consumers 10 percent of all energy used in the country, to grow these crops," he said. "They're going a far distance to get to your refridgerator. Not a very efficient process."