News photo by Emily Thiel Team Go Clean, Go Green, Go Algae won a $10,000 grant as part of the Lexus Eco Challenge: Scholastic. Pictured are team members Ian Kurtz, Alex Doyle, Elizabeth Levy, Noah Coates, John Dugan, Megan Jolivetter, Dan Downs, Stephanie Sievers and Courtney Vidovich with advisors Mr. Shannon Helzer and Mr. Syd Harwood in the lab.

The team of nine students at Daniel Boone High School won the Lexus Eco Challenge: Scholastic, granting them with $10,000.

Go Clean, Go Green, Go Algae is a group of students picked to excel and expand their knowledge. Their project is to create biodiesel fuel from lipid oils found in common pond algae.

Students Ian Kurtz, Alex Doyle, Elizabeth Levy, Noah Coates, John Dugan, Megan Jolivetter, Dan Downs, Stephanie Sievers and Courtney Vidovich get to split $7,000; advisors Mr. Shannon Helzer and Mr. Syd Harwood are awarded with $1,000 for their classrooms. The remaining $2,000 is given to the school district.

Hopefully [the money] will go back to the science department, student Courtney Vidovich said.


Excited about their win, the students are fueled and ready to go for the next challenge. They now compete on a national level against 15 other high schools. The nationwide competition includes eight schools from the Land and Water category with eight schools from the Air and Climate category.

With this competition, one school will be awarded the Grand Prize of $30,000. Four schools can place in first place resulting with a winning of $20,000. The green team hosted a friends and family night at the high school in early November where they introduced the community to the project. From that night, the team was contacted by the National Algae Association to offer companies to sponsor the school with a cash donation and equipment.

PA House Representative Dave Kessler is also providing assistance to find additional funding.

The team is focusing their efforts to educate the community on a national level.

On Jan. 13, Daniel Boones Go Clean, Go Green, Go Algae team is scheduled to speak on the House floor in Harrisburg.

Student Ian Kurtz emailed conservative talk show host Bill OReilly to suggest an on-air debate about the need for alternative fuels.

The students are also looking at contacting Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey to help get the word out about algae.

We have 40 years left of oil in the ground, the team told The Southern Berks News.

Both the students and advisors are extremely passionate about changing the way our country operates. Algae provides 100 times more fuel per acre than any other renewable resource.

We cant do it all alone, student Megan Jolivetter said.

Letters to the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are also being composed by the team to further educate the country.

In 20 to 30 years from now, there has to be something new on the rise, advisor Harwood stated.

To stay up to date with the team, follow them on Twitter @GocleanGoalgae or visit their website

About the Author

Emily Thiel

Emily Thiel is the editor of The Southern Berks News and is the Community Engagement Editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers. Emily joined Berks-Mont in March 2013. She graduated from Kutztown University in 2011 with a degree in English with a concentration in Cultural and Media Studies. Emily is a native of Allentown, Pa. Reach the author at or follow Emily on Twitter: @sthrnberksnews.