Lincoln High School students search for the ‘green’

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published April 2, 2012

 Lincoln High School senior Juwon Taylor works in class on electronic relay testing.

Lincoln High School senior Juwon Taylor works in class on electronic relay testing.

Photo provided


WARREN — Learning how to create electricity using alternative energy is just one of the many components of Lincoln High School’s green technology small learning community, offered for the first time this year.

Students enrolled in the green technology program, which is held inside the new Lincoln Career and Technology Mark A. Kedzior Center on the LHS grounds, are getting their feet wet and soaking up all they can about the green movement. LHS is part of Van Dyke Public Schools.

Green technology students study and experiment with alternative methods, materials and techniques to generate energy and nontoxic cleaning products. The program is broken down into three sections: green I, green II and green III.

“We want the students to have the basic concepts to be able to be the inventors of solutions for a green future. We want to be involved in the latest technology,” green engineering coordinator Jeffrey Kohr said. “Green isn’t a course. It’s a component of any type of technology by giving students the basics in I, II and II. You open up the creativity for different applications.”

Green I introduces pupils to sustainability, renewal resources, green designs, solar and wind power, and alternative energy sources.

“In green II, our engineering component comes in,” Kohr said. “They will learn the basics of design using various software. They will learn about green design and the materials that are associated with that. Green III deals with alternative fuels and transportation.”

Catia is the name of the software package the students currently use. Kohr said the staff just received a donation of it. In green III, the students will build an Electrathon car, and the project will include participation from students in the computer-aided design courses, as well as those in the manufacturing/machining and the automotive programs.

An Electrathon car, which to many people resembles either a go-kart or dune buggy, is a three- or four-wheeled electric vehicle powered by an electric motor that runs off batteries. The green technology students will make PowerPoint presentations about their Electrathon car ideas to the third- and fourth-year CAD students this month.

“From there, the CAD students will design the actual car,” Kohr said. “After the CAD students design the car, it will go to the manufacturing/machining students next year. There will be an actual structure for the vehicle. It’s a dune buggy type deal. Then, it will go to the automotive students. They will do the brakes, the steering, the electrical system.”

The idea is to give all the students involved the chance to experience what it’s like to work in teams, much like that of the working world.

“We’re trying to create a corporate idea where you have a group project that is broken into sub groups,” Kohr said.

The green program also has a “family advocacy system” for students who will be part of the small learning community all four years.

“It’s designed to create relationships between the parents and the school,” Kohr said. “We can talk with parents a couple times a month. Our goal is to engage our families, so we can get our kids to graduate and their kids to graduate.”

On March 13, about 17 families got a closer look at the program during the “What Does Green Really Mean” family event. Guest speakers included DTE presenter Nancy Holz, Harold Remlinger of Remlinger Architekts PLS in Warren, and energy auditor Mark Pytiak.

“It was nice to have so many parents, staff and families showing interest in the kids,” Kohr said.

Lawrence Tech representatives also were on site to show students what the school offers in the field. The evening started off with a home-cooked spaghetti meal the culinary arts student provided. Pam Atkinson and teacher assistant Sheri Stilwell teach the program, held in the new technology building. Stilwell described the new CTE building as “beautiful and calm.”

“It makes you want to learn,” she said. “The kids come in here, and they step it up. This gives them something they can’t learn in a book.”

Leo Slatin also teaches green technology I and manufacturing. Jolaine Price is the CAD teacher. Also housed in the new career and technology building is the district’s dental assisting class taught by Donna Richard. A couple of times a month Slatin and Kohr open up their classrooms on the weekends, so students can come in and work on projects.