May 3rd marked a very important day for members of Foothill High School’s Energy Academy Program. After three years of anticipation, the students flocked to the Old Spaghetti Factory to receive checks of $1,000, checks that teachers and Pacific Gas & Electric Company workers hope will help the students in their several career paths.

6238233512_dc4ab2456f

Students in the Academy have done everything from programming computers, to building solar-powered boats.

So, what is the Energy Academy?

The Energy Academy is basically a set of classes designed specifically for students showing promise in technical sciences. In the 2009-2012 school year, PG&E workers studied several schools within California, evaluating their likeliness to benefit from being a part of the program. Only a few schools were chosen, one of which being Sacramento’s very own Foothill High School. Several students—who were at the time freshmen—were interviewed from each of the selected schools. They were asked about their interests, their knowledge of sciences, and more. Over 70 students were chosen to enroll in the Academy in the next school year, and told that their incentive to remain in the program until the end was a paycheck that could greatly help them with their futures. Only 29 graduated from the Academy and received their hefty checks.

During the last three years, students in the academy have done everything from programming computers to building solar-powered boats. In 2012, Foothill’s Energy Academy won a contest in which the schools competed to see who could conserve the most energy by turning off lights and reducing electronic usage. The profits earned from the contest went into the academy’s funds to help students who enroll in the other rounds of the Academy have the best experience they can.

“I will miss many of them,” said Dave Yeroshek, the Energy Careers teacher for the Academy. “It’s been amazing watching the ones that stayed learn more and more.”

Other Academy teachers, such as Ms. Barrett, Ms. Rupley, Mr. Saltzen, agreed that the first round of the Energy Academy program was a great success. Hopefully, the well-earned checks will be going to good causes, helping the Energy Academy students to succeed in their future careers.