The college’s project involves the establishment of the ‘Zayed Centre for Innovation’, where students and staff can inquire, plan and build alternate energy systems to encourage and equip them to be leaders in their communities.
Sustainability coordinator Tom Linnell, who has been instrumental in the planning of the project, said the centre would provide students with “an authentic opportunity to combine STEM curriculum with real world provocations”.
In addition to the centre, the college hopes to establish a Tenison Renewable Energy Education and Sustainability (TREES) Academy by 2020, and work towards having the college completely off the grid by 2030.
In its tenth year, the Zayed Future Energy Prize recognises pioneers of a sustainable energy future. It was created by the late ruler of Abu Dhabi and founding father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and is judged on a global scale annually.
Tenison Woods is one of three schools in the final stage of the Global High Schools Category for the Oceania Region, with the winner to be announced at the award presentation in Abu Dhabi in January next year. The other schools vying for the title and prize money are Lowanna College, Victoria and Motufoua Secondary School in the South Pacific nation of Tuvalu.
College principal David Mezinec is delighted with the school’s achievement.
“I see it as validation for the college’s deep faith-based commitment to stewardship for our planet and a deliberate six-year journey of continuous improvement that asks the difficult questions about our ecological footprint as a large college community,” he said.
The achievement comes after Tenison Woods was awarded ‘Environmental and Sustainable Business of the Year’ at the Mount Gambier Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Awards on October 13. The award recognises the dedication and drive of the school community to develop strategies around sustainability and environmental education.
Catholic Education South Australia assistant director and chair of the Ecology Advisory Committee, Monica Conway, commended the college for its sustainable practices and success on becoming a finalist in the Zayed prize.
She said the college provided a great example for many schools in South Australia, “modelling our commitment to ecology, learning, leadership, effective resourcing and being sustainable in our practice”.
Representatives from the college plan to attend the awards ceremony and are looking forward to meeting other global pioneers of renewable energy and sustainability.
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