Kohala High duo return from meeting President Obama


Rico Bowman, Mina Apostadiro, President Obama, Isabel Steinhoff and Genevieve Boyle

Jenna Nickl, Editor-in-Chief

While attending Kohala Middle School, current freshmen Genevieve Boyle and Isabel Steinhoff were 2 of 4 members of the 6000 n 60 battery recycling project who won the national competition for their project. As reward for the project, the 4 team members (Boyle, Steinhoff, Kohala Middle School 8th grader Mina Apostadiro and Kamehameha Schools- Keaau freshman Rico Bowman) received free trips to Costa Rica last summer and were given the opportunity to travel to Washington DC last week to present their project to students from all across the nation and even to President Obama himself. The science fair was hosted by the White House and featured 40 different projects from across the US.  Many ground-breaking businesses who specialize in math, science and technology such as NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Environment Protection Agency and a handful of other forerunners in these fields were in attendance. As reported by Tribune Herald, the organizations and other attendees were blown away by the level of diffculty that a majority of the projects presented. Boyle told Tribune Herald that she thinks what made their project stand out was its effect on the whole community.  The group of kids, who have been mentored throughout this entire process by community member Lani Bowman, were also featured on the 6 and 10 o’clock statewide news. Boyle had the opportunity to be interviewed by the broadcasters and described to viewers their ideas for implementing a battery recycling program in the nation that would draw parallels to the popular HI5 recycling program.

The project was started to raise awareness in the community about the positive effects that battery recycling can have on the world. Battery collection centers were placed all across town and families from the elementary, middle and high school also contributed by sending used batteries to school. The group’s goal was to recycle 6000 batteries in 60 days. Towards the end of the school year, the 4 students and Bowman attended an assembly where it was announced that their goal was not only surpassed but they had won the overall national “We Can Change the World” competition and the prizes that came with that title: the trip to Costa Rica, a video recorder, a prize pack and each student received a $10,000 savings bond.