Highland Park Teens Work To Make School Buses Greener

Please help these inspiring students achieve their dream and vote today (and the following days) so they can win their grant and, hopefully, help make school buses everywhere better for our environment.

Hi! My name is Azza and I am a part of a project called GreenShields. We are trying to revolutionize school buses by making them more aerodynamic.

My brother Jonny thought of an idea in 7th grade to put a “shield” on the front of currently right-angle buses. This shield reduces the amount of drag force that builds up in front of the bus, making it go faster using less gas.

This means that school buses, that travel lots of routes to and from school, including field trips and athletics, will have higher gas mileage. The school will therefore spend less money on gas, and we want to channel that money back towards green education.

In 2008, GreenShields won a $1,000 grant from Youth Venture, a non-profit organization that supports kids who want to affect positive social change in their communities.

In June 2009, we went to MIT and Harvard for the Youth Venture Conference and got to meet with Mr. Perdichizzi of the MIT Wind Tunnels.

We were contacted by GOOD Magazine, who sent a film crew called Lost & Found Films to film us in December 2009. We spoke at Highland Park City Hall at the City Council Meeting in February 2010.

Here is the link to our youtube video:

We are currently (during the entire month of February) in a competition from the Pepsi Refresh Campaign for a $25,000 grant. Right now, we’re in 10th place and the top ten teams get $25,000. We need people to vote everyday at this link: www.refresheverything.com/greenshields.

We’d appreciate your help getting the world out- because even if we don’t win the grant, we need to gather as much support as possible.

We are trying to win this money so we can test our idea and implement it on some buses. We are really trying to make our buses cleaner and greener. Our physics and engineering teachers, head of science department, administrators, friends and family have all united to support our endeavor.

We never would be in 10th place if it weren’t for the incredible support and invaluable help from our school, community and City Council. We’re just trying to make a difference, a small one, that will hopefully spread and inspire others to make a small difference with the aerodynamics of their buses as well.

Team Members:

  • Jonny Cohen (inventor)
  • Azza Cohen (political liaison)
  • Ben Johnston (business affairs)
  • Talia Segal (public relations)
  • Blake Harwood (legal issues)
  • Mollie Krent (grants/funds)
  • Jordan Kravitz (engineering)
  • Community Captains – Andy Abrams and Ryan Richter

Our project has grown from my brother’s crazy and ambitious idea to a school and community-wide effort to bring about a positive change.

We’ve also received support from:

  • Karen May- Representative to Illinois House
  • Michael Belsky- Mayor of Highland Park
  • Nancy Rodkin Rotering- Councilwoman of Highland Park
  • Terri Olian- Councilwoman of Highland Park
  • Anne Flanagan Bassi- Lake County Board

I’ve seen a few issues of your magazine- it’s really inspiring. I think it’s refreshing to read about positive things in our community. As a young person, it’s nice to read about role models in the community. Thank you for the time to read this lengthy email. We’d be honored to meet or talk anytime!