Four Johnston County Early College Academy students won first place and $2,000 in the 2015 N.C. New Schools Innovation Challenge.
The Johnston students were juniors Raul Pena Cruz, Colin Garcia, Aaron Penny and Georgia Price.
The competition challenged students to propose creative, practical solutions to real problems in either food supply or healthy choices. Teams of four to six students used practical skills, including research, teamwork and communication, to develop their ideas for increasing the availability of healthy food or encouraging healthy behaviors in their communities.
Nineteen teams from 11 schools submitted proposals and videos. Professionals in industry and higher education judged the submissions on needs analysis, innovation, practical application, level of positive impact and potential for sustainability. Submissions included an app for managing diabetes, a community garden and a video game about healthy choices for students.
The Johnston students proposed a recycling project using deformed fruits and vegetables to eliminate “food deserts,” or areas with limited access to fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthy whole foods. The students will use the $2,000 to implement their idea.
N.C. New Schools is a professional-services agency focused on developing high-performing schools and school districts. Since 2003, N.C. New Schools has partnered with districts, higher education, businesses and communities in every region of the state to ensure that all students graduate ready for college careers and life. To learn more, visit ncnewschools.org.