It’s not typical for a big pile of broken, tangled Christmas lights to make anyone happy but Eric Krakowski couldn’t help but smile when he saw photos of a Duchesne Academy work truck filled with discarded broken lights. The school recently completed its fourth Christmas lights drive when it collects people’s damaged, broken, or otherwise unwanted strands of holiday lights and donates them to Scrap Central for recycling.
“This just started as a box outside of our building with a few strands but now it has grown and it is wonderful to see so many people participating,” said Krakowski, Duchesne’s assistant principal.
Scram Central donates the recycling proceeds from the effort to Lincoln Firefighters Operation Warm which provides coats to children in Lincoln. Over a five-week period, which began after Thanksgiving, Duchesne collected 550 pounds of lights, bringing its cumulative total to over 2400 pounds in 4 years, according to Krakowski.
“This project is perfect for Duchesne. It is part of our Sustainability Program, which is based in Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, and is rooted in our Goal 4: a social awareness that impels to action,” said Krakowski, who is celebrating his 24th year as a Sacred Heart educator at Duchesne.
Duchesne Academy will host Catholic high school educators from across the Omaha area for a first-of-its-kind educational technology conference on October 11, at 8:45 a.m. at Duchesne Academy.
This event will include speakers, discussion sessions, and vendors. Kelly Gomez Johnson will deliver the keynote address about equitable teaching and leadership practices in STEM education. Gomez Johnson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Her work and leadership projects have attracted nearly $4 million in funding since 2016.
Presenters and attendees will dive into the topics and funding models that are unique to parochial schools.
“Timely professional development is hard to come by during the school year. By hosting this event on an in-service day, we are providing teachers new tools they can take back to their classrooms the very next day,” said Jason Schlesiger, Duchesne Academy Director of Technology.
The conference will also feature a presentation from Julie Sigmon, Director of the Omaha STEM Ecosystem, a citywide partnership to maximize STEM, learning initiatives encompassing the Greater Omaha area, including 12 school districts.
Other topics include how to create virtual field trips in a post-Covid world, cyber security, incorporating art into STEM curriculum, and establishing sustainability programs.
Duchesne’s power use has dropped significantly since closing in March due to the persistent community spread of COVID-19 but the panels are powering some crucial equipment in the school’s DREAM lab.
OMAHA — Duchesne Academy’s solar panels are generating electricity at the highest output since their installation in 2019.
Last month, the panels produced the most electricity since they were installed. Their production in April is on pace to be even higher at 400kWh. The panels are most efficient during longer, cooler days.
Duchesne’s power use has dropped significantly since closing in March due to the persistent community spread of COVID-19 but the panels are powering some crucial equipment in the school’s DREAM lab. Electricity from the panels help to power the FloraFelt Garden wall and a large tank used to grow trout which will be released into a local lake.