|School’s namesake was the guest speaker at ceremony|
Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston:
Leonard Gereau addresses faculty, students and guests during Thursday morning’s awards ceremony at the Gereau Center.
Monday, November 19, 2012
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
Former Franklin County School Superintendent Leonard Gereau was one of the guest speakers Thursday morning at a ceremony honoring The Gereau Center for Applied Technology and Career Exploration (CATCE) for its status as a Green Ribbon School.
During this inaugural year of the award, the school, named for Gereau, became one of only 78 schools in the nation to receive the honor by the United States Department of Education.
Gereau warned students of the environmental challenges the country faces now and in the future, including global warming, tainted water, garbage disposal and recycling.
"I challenge all of the students here today," he said, "to come up with some answers for us, for yourselves and your own families because that's what your training is all about here at this center," referring to CATCE and the Center for Energy Efficient Design (CEED).
The Green Ribbon Schools Award recognizes a positive environmental impact of the school, a positive impact on students' and staff members' health, and a curriculum that produces environmentally literate students.
The Gereau Center was also presented a Virginia Naturally School award from the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.
The CEED received several awards as well, including its PassivHaus Certification from the Passive House Institute. The award was presented by Structures Design Build, who designed and built the center.
The LEED Platinum award from the United States Green Building Council was also presented to the CEED during the ceremony, along with the Go Beyond New Construction and Go Beyond Organizational awards, which were given by the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and Research and Development Magazine.
"A lot of the innovation that you (students) probably take for granted came about because of Mr. Gereau's vision and his leadership," said Dr. Mark Church, interim superintendent for Franklin County schools. "What we have here (The Gereau Center and the CEED) is a model that other states and other divisions within the commonwealth can admire. We have career exploration. We have the integration of technology. We have a problem-based learning approach."
Church thanked the faculty and staff of The Gereau Center and the CEED, as well as the school board and board of supervisors, for continually working to provide opportunities for young people, adding that the organizations present at the ceremony were there to give the school "accolades and recognition for the outstanding education and dedication to a healthy environment and a better world."
After the ceremony, guests were invited to visit stations that demonstrated some of the activities that helped The Gereau Center and CEED in achieving their award-winning status.
Dr. Kevin Bezy, principal of The Gereau Center, recognized students and staff for "the work that takes place daily, which leads to the environmentally sound practices designed to make us better stewards of the resources we have."