Trio of local students attempt to influence White House energy policy

A trio of local high school students wrote to President Trump regarding energy policy in the United States, and to their surprise received a response straight from Washington.

Instructor Valerie Zienty says she was shocked when the envelope arrived in the mail. 

Student James Mathias says he was excited, because, "we're just three high schoolers on the eastern shore that were just doing a school project."

This all started with a project at Worcester Tech High School where students in groups of three were assigned an energy, and asked to weigh the pros and cons.  After reaching conclusions, they sent their findings to policy makers.

Other peers sent their energy letters to local officials, but the trio shot for the stars, sending a letter to Pennsylvania Avenue as part of their class project in their pre-engineering class.

"It actually seemed like it was a pretty genuine letter that answered our questions a little bit," said Mathias.

The letter centered around nuclear energy, its pros and cons, and impact on the environment.  After much research, they concluded nuclear power is a positive energy for the future of the nation.

The project is designed to teach these students the art of throwing out what you thought you knew and sort through the facts to come up with your own conclusions.

"I think I had to push them a little bit because some of them already had pre conceived notion about a particular source of energy," said Zienty.   "It gives them different perspectives, scientific perspectives about the particular energy source."

They say the letter validates their work and shows that the White House is listening.

"And (Trump) agreeing with them, 'yes guys, I do want to make sure we have a clean environment, I do want to make sure that you as our students coming will work in the clean work spaces.'  I feel like it was important."

These pre-engineering students are part of Worcester Tech's five STEM Academies, where students spend one semester a school year splitting days between their regular school and Tech.  This fall, the high school will be adding computer sciences to its curriculum.

The school adds new programs every year based on the needs in society.  The computer science program will teach the basics of coding, and include AP courses, which can be used toward college credits.

The academies offered at Worcester Tech offer students in the area a chance to take on real life career experiences before they have to make their choice of majors in college.

"Success rate of this program is seventy percent.  So seventy percent go to engineering schools, and the other thirty they decide you know what engineering is not for me.  Which is great because I just their parents a whole bunch of money or I just saved those kids a whole bunch of money because they don't have to find out the first year in college that they don't like engineering," said Zienty.

These programs are four years long, and students have to apply to get in at the Worcester Tech High School website.  We're told about 40 students are accepted annually per program.

Categories: Local News, Maryland