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Golden Climate International Science Fair Grand Award
Last week, Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School student Jalen Scott flew to Africa as the only student in the United States invited to an international science competition.
The eighth grader returned home Sunday to Baton Rouge with the grand prize for the best project.
Jalen captured the top award for having the best overall project in last week's Golden Climate International Environmental Project Olympiad in Nairobi, Kenya. Jalen was the only U.S. finalist selected to participate in the competition, which featured dozens of the top middle school and high school students from more than 35 countries. Golden Climate is a non-profit group that focuses on raising awareness of environmental issues and encouraging students to participate in conservation efforts.
"When they called my name as the winner, I got real nervous," Jalen said. "My legs started shaking, and I was afraid I couldn't walk."
Jalen, who was accompanied to Kenya by his father and science teacher, managed to make
Jalen Scott prepares to present his project to the team of international judges.
it to the stage to accept the grand award, formally known as the Wangari Maathai Special Award. The award is named for Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who, in 2004, became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.
"Jalen Scott's accomplishments are nothing short of amazing and show the world that we are developing some of the best minds in science fields right here in Baton Rouge," said Mayor-President Melvin L. "Kip" Holden. "I couldn't be more proud that his innovative ideas not only benefit current students, but will also help him achieve his own dreams."
Mayor Holden plans to make a special presentation and proclamation in Jalen's honor at the next East Baton Rouge Parish Metropolitan Council meeting on May 14.
Jalen's project started as a science fair project last year that studied elevated lead levels in several playgrounds in East Baton Rouge Parish. The project attracted national attention after his results were published in an academic journal, and he was invited to Washington, D.C., where he met with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Kenilworth is an open-enrollment charter school that serves students in grades 6-8. The school focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses and activities and is an educational and community leader, hosting the Louisiana STEM Expo and the Louisiana Elementary Math Olympiad.