Letcher County Central High School and LCCHS teacher Regina Donour were honored recently at the PRIDE Envi Youth Conference at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville.
Donour won the PRIDE Environmental Educator of the Year Award in the East Division. LCCHS received a plaque as one of three finalists for the PRIDE High School Campus of the Year Award in the East Division. Twenty-six LCCHS students attended the conference.
“Students and teachers, you are a source of great pride to your community and our entire region,” said PRIDE’s Karen Engle. “Your love for learning, the environment and your community are a winning combination. You are on track for great accomplishments. Your recognition here today is just the beginning.”
Donour was honored for her dedication to inspiring a new generation of environmental stewards. Donour, who teaches biology and chemistry, wrote proposals for PRIDE grants to fund the LCCHS environmental education program. She led the school to win the PRIDE High School Campus of the Year Award in 2006.
Beyond the classroom, she volunteers for the Kentucky Water Watch Program and is a member of the Appalachian Math and Science Partnership, National Energy Education Development, and the Kentucky and National Science Teachers Associations. This summer, she traveled to Potsdam, Germany as a German/ American Fulbright Scholar.
The LCCHS environmental education program was showcased in a video during the awards ceremony. Students learn a variety of lessons through hands-on activities in the school’s animal habitat, wetland and greenhouse, which has solar panels to power a fan and light the tool shed. The school’s Outdoor Education Class prepares environmental stewards for Kentucky’s future. Class members conduct water quality studies in their community and region, making a meaningful contribution to policy discussions about protecting local waterways.
The video was seen by more than 600 students at the Youth Conference. The event featured motivational speakers who challenged the students to live up to their potential and make a difference. The event, including lunch, was free, and PRIDE will reimburse schools for transportation costs.
“Today I saw kids having a blast one minute and looking thoughtful the next minute,” Engle said. “With the theme of ‘PRIDE Needs Youth,’ our goal was to get students excited about their power to make a difference in their hometown and world. Judging by the looks on their faces, they got that message.”
The annual PRIDE Campus of the Year Awards honor elementary, middle and high schools for environmental education programs that incorporate hands-on learning, are tied to state curriculum guidelines, and show creativity and community involvement.
PRIDE is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental cleanup and education efforts in 38 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky. The PRIDE web site is www.kypride.org.