49ers and PG&E Educate 49ers Academy Students on the Value of Renewable Energy
On Tuesday, October 14, the San Francisco 49ers and Pacific Gas and Electric Company hosted a "Solarbration" to announce PG&E's donation of a solar panel to the 49ers Academy as part of the utility's Solar Schools Program.
49ers center Eric Heitmann and guard Tony Wragge joined approximately 85 seventh and eighth grade students from the 49ers Academy to officially cut the ribbon to their brand new solar panel, donated by PG&E, and kick off their exploration of solar science and energy education. After the ribbon cutting, Heitmann and Wragge joined the students and raced solar toy cars, played energy games and created solar crafts.
After seeing the demonstration and playing with the solar powered cars with the students, Wragge discussed his amazement of the amount of energy one solar panel can produce.
"I am blown away of the amount of electricity that one of these little solar panels can power on those litlte solar cars. If you get it in the sun, that sucker will zip away from you before you can catch it. They told me the solar panel will provide one-third of the power of a normal household, which is astronomically great. I'm really proud the 49ers have it here and I'm thinking about putting some solar panels on my house now."
Prior to the kick-off and solar games, Gina Sidaria, the principal of the 49ers Academy started off the day with opening remarks welcoming the partnership between the 49ers and PG&E to help educate the students on renewable energy and thanking PG&E for their generous donation.
After opening remarks, speakers including Lisa Lang, vice president of communications for the 49ers, Barry Scott of the NEED Project, Nancy McFadden, senior vice president of public affairs for PG&E, and Assemblyman Ira Ruskin spoke about the significance of the donation and partnership, and how the students of the 49ers Academy can be the next generation to make an impact on our environment through renewable energy.
As a surprise to the audience, three students from the 49ers Academy performed a rap song during the ceremony that they had created on their own about the importance of renewable energy and moving away from fossil fuels.
Assemblyman Ruskin thoroughly enjoyed the performance saying, "I thought the rappers did a great job. They had a good sound and a good message about how they might be the kids who bring an end to reliance on fossil fuels," said Ruskin.
Ruskin also discussed the importance of the partnership between the 49ers and PG&E to help educate the youth of East Palo Alto on such an important topic.
"I wanted the students, the superintendent and the principal to know that what they're doing here is really important. And, I wanted to thank the 49ers and PG&E for making it happen and partnering," said Ruskin.
Since opening in 1996, the 49ers Academy in East Palo Alto has received ongoing support from the 49ers Foundation and the 49ers organization. The school serves sixth, seventh and eighth grade students who benefit from a small, nurturing and personalized environment. The 49ers Academy provides a caring community where the emphasis is on one-on-one relationships to promote academic success in children who have struggled in other school systems.
"Learning the impact of solar and alternative energy is a great lesson to learn at an early age," said John York, owner of the San Francisco 49ers. "In keeping with our mission of the 49ers Foundation, we focus on keeping the children of the 49ers Academy safe, on track, and in school. This is just another way we can reach these youth and help make an impact and difference in their lives."
PG&E's Solar Schools Program is teaching the value of renewable energy to students. This award-winning program is making science fun and teaching students how their everyday actions can impact the environment. Since its inception in 2004, this shareholder-funded program has contributed $6 million to 100 northern and central California schools and has trained over 2,000 teachers, benefiting nearly 100,000 students throughout PG&E's service area.
"PG&E's Solar Schools Program is teaching the value of renewable energy by turning school buildings into hands-on science experiments," said Nancy McFadden, senior vice president of public affairs for PG&E. "We are proud to partner with the 49ers Academy to help educate the next generation of environmental leaders."