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Student Team Wins $30,000 National Prize for Upcycling Project

May 25, 2017

FISD Trustees Pose with Lexus Eco Challenge WinnersStudents Perform at Ceremony with Upcycled InstrumentsSecond Chance Band Receives $30,000 Grand PrizeWinning Students with their TeacherLTHS Teacher Kimberly Church Poses with CarStudents Turn Trash into Musical Treasure

Five freshmen from Frisco ISD’s Lebanon Trail High School won the grand prize for high school students in a national contest designed to inspire young people to make a positive impact on the world.

The team – comprised of students Wail Aldahni, Abigail Love, Kylie Mannan, Avery Sinnathamby and Arvind Subramanian – were presented with several gifts, including an oversized check for $30,000, during a special presentation Wednesday at Park Place Lexus in Plano.

The prize money will be shared between the team, teacher and school, with $20,000 awarded for student scholarships, $7,000 for Lebanon Trail High School and $3,000 for the students’ teacher Kimberly Church.

The Lexus Eco Challenge is an educational science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program and competition that inspires and empowers middle and high school students to learn about the environment and take action to improve it. It is sponsored nationally by Lexus and Scholastic.

The Lebanon Trail students, who call themselves the Second Chance Band, transformed unwanted junk into musical instruments as part of an effort to reduce landfill waste and spread their love for music around the globe. They made more than 75 flutes, violins, guitars, trumpets and percussion instruments from old odds and ends and sent them to areas in need around the world, from Latin America to the Middle East.

“Where others saw trash, we saw a second chance… for the trash, for the kids, for music,” Church said, noting the passion team members brought to the project as members of the LTHS band and orchestra. “These students had the audacity and the courage to step out and step up and do something.”

The team had already won $10,000 as regional winners in the contest for efforts to raise awareness about ways Frisco ISD students, teachers and administrators could save energy in FISD schools.

Students were formally honored at the ceremony by representatives from Lexus, as well as city and state representatives, FISD trustees and others. Teacher Kimberly Church was presented with keys to a new Lexus that she’ll get to drive for a few months over the summer.

“Not a bad first year for LTHS,” new Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said, praising students for their hard work at the ceremony. “The entire city is proud of you.”

Lebanon Trail Principal Dr. Devin Padavil told students that the lessons they learned through their participation in the Lexus Eco Challenge will extend far beyond their high school years.

“You know how to set ambitious goals and subgoals, how to handle pressure, how to develop a sense of team and get something done,” he said. “You won on a national stage.”

Learn more about the Second Chance Band and their project. 

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