Next Challenge: People and produce

As humans, our lives are entwined with vegetables and fruits and grains.  They keep us alive and healthy.  How do you visualize people’s relationship to edible plants?   For Challenge #2, you get to tell this story in 3 photographs.  You don’t have to have fancy photographic equipment to tell this story, either – just show us how you interpret this age-old relationship.   Your photo essay is due on Friday, December 5th at 5 p.m. and we have a panel of prominent photography experts who can’t wait to see what you come up with!  (See “Challenges in Depth” for details and requirements.)   Vegetables

Teens shun social media and write about it!!

442 high school students participated in Challenge #1 and gave up technology for 24 hours.  Their essays were insighful on both, personal and global, levels.  And here are the winners:

1st Place: Liam Connolly, Gateway High School

2nd Place: Sydney Kaboly, Woodland Hills High School

3rd Place: Nereida Cowfer, A. W. Beattie Career Center

Special Merit Awards:

Gina Bao, North Allegheny Senior High School

Allison Ulven, Moon Area High School

Sarah Coyne, Seneca Valley Senior High School

Congratulations to ALL who took the challenge!


Middle School “Go Outside” Poems Inspired by Nature

And the winners of Challenge 1B are:

1st Place: Elsa Tonkinwise, The Ellis School*

2nd Place: Maggie Shissler, St. Sylvester School

3rd Place: Laura Schwendeman, Carson Middle School

Special Merit Awards:

Gianna Pasqualino, Shaffer Elementary/Woodland Hills Academy 6th grade

Jenna Miller, West Shamokin Jr/Sr High School

For Haiku: Kiera Harrell-Danks, The Ellis School

For largest number of participants (215!): David E. Williams Middle School


*1st Place: “A Smooth Blue Package” by Elsa Tonkinwise

My room cramped fake silent I need to get out away to the open the door swings free with a


The world hits me

so much life, alive

jump run dance

The grass is

soft warm tender

lie down


chip chip cip

a scattering of golden wood

Sweet berries

red pink red


Squirrels with

grey plumes of tails

leap follow sprint

So much to

smell hear taste touch


Stand back



The sky envelopes it all in a

smooth blue


Middle School Students Detach from Phones for 24 hours

,…and discovered that you can talk to people face to face or take a  walk with your friends in a park or play an instrument.  All kinds of possibilities were revealed, as well as the concept of saving energy by unplugging!  We know this because you wrote about the experience in your terrifically insightful essays.  Here are the winning entries for Challenge 1A:

1st Place: Anna Yaksich, Springdale Junior High School

2nd Place: Emily Ehrenberger, Shaler Area Middle School

3rd Place: Brandon Skalniak, St. Sylvester School

Special Merit Awards:

Catie Summers, The Ellis School

Ella Backauskas, Carson Middle School