WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange educator Ryan DelGuerico, dean of students and sustainable technology and engineering studies director, recently received the Excellence in Education Award from the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) for his work developing an innovative curriculum that teaches students to design and create solar light circuits.
According to the NJCCC, DelGuerico was nominated by township Assistant Director of Public Works Nick Salese for leading the effort to involve students at West Orange High School.
His students are studying engineering in the search for sustainable answers to the real-world problem of energy injustice, while also gaining hands-on experience.
Based on the Liter of Light project (www.literoflight.org), a worldwide initiative to bring green, sustainable access to electricity to communities around the world devastated by catastrophes or isolated by poverty, the students participate in a curriculum to design solar-powered circuit boards and practical delivery devices.
After the first year, DelGuerico and other teachers have updated the curriculum to include previous students’ designs.
As the next step in this project, the West Orange Environmental Commission would like to have the students become the circuit-building ambassador-instructors for the community. DelGuerico's students presented their solar circuit designs to the community in March at the annual Earth Hour Event at Thomas Edison National Historical Park.
DelGuerico said he sees the students’ enthusiasm as a hopeful sign.
“The students are the ones who will have the most significant impact on our environment in the years to come,” he said. “This is why the Technology and Engineering Department at West Orange High School challenges our students not only to solve problems, but to arrive at solutions that exhibit sustainability. They have demonstrated creativity, innovation, and a true passion for improving our environment. It is because of this I know our future is a bright one."
NJCCC is a comprehensive, statewide litter-abatement program that has served New Jersey residents and visitors for more than 25 years. Learn more at njclean.org.