Luxury carmaker Lexus is giving away half-a-million dollars in scholarships and grants through a contest for teenagers who are committed to making the world a better place to live. Lexus has partnered with education and media company Scholastic Inc. to create a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program dubbed as Lexus Eco Challenge.
Lexus Eco Challenge has given away $4 million since its launch in 2007 to around 25,000 middle and high school students, their teachers and their schools, by creating distinct environmental programs. It is open to teenagers in the United States in grades 6–12. Teams of students can participate in challenges focused on Land/Water or Air/Climate.
Winners from the first two challenges will then take part in the Final Challenge which dangles a $30,000 top prize for both the winning middle school and high school teams.
Ashlie Beals, teacher advisor for the 2011 top team called the ‘One-Towel Wonders,’ remarked that the Lexus Eco Challenge is an integral part of the environmental studies curriculum at their school. She remarked that for the past six years, all her 8th grade students have worked in teams to "create and implement innovative campaigns to “encourage others to make one small change” that could result to positive impact on the environment.
Beals adds, “During the Challenge, students sharpen their oral and written communication skills, utilize many forms of technology, and work together actively and enthusiastically to solve real-life problems. My younger students eagerly look forward to their chance to participate in the Challenge when they are in 8th grade.
I can’t thank Lexus and Scholastic enough for offering this tremendous opportunity to my students.” “We're pleased to see the Lexus Eco Challenge helps inspire teens to improve the world around them,” says Jeff Bracken, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “It further opens their eyes to environmental issues in their communities and gives them the experience and confidence to take action to improve those issues.” [source: Lexus]