LEMOORE — Twenty of Lemoore High School engineering pathway students participated in SunPower Solar Academy the past week.
Terry Boyer, Lemoore High School’s lead engineering pathway teacher, said the program is meant to expose the students to all the things that put together a residential solar company including financing and managing a business.
The academy is described as an internship and learning experience by SunPower Corp. career education secretary Ruth McFarren and Boyer.
McFarren said the Regional Occupational Program Department with Kings County Office of Education and Lemoore High School have worked together to offer the academy for the past three years.
Thursday, the students learned some of the lessons learned from Jim Gregory on the things he has learned while working with renewable energy and the Verdegaal Brothers.
The students also learned about public speaking and how to dress professionally.
The academy also involved the students going on a field trip to Southern California Edison Energy Education Center in Tulare and having other speakers give input on the solar industry.
All the students participating this year were sophomores in high school.
Shannyn Martyn said that she appreciated how the academy was more hands-on and interactive than regular school is. She said the format has been easier to learn and understand the information provided.
Martyn also said that an incentive to participate in the internship program was that the students are to receive a stipend of $250 for the week.
Noah Nunez said that the opportunity felt less like work and more like an educational opportunity.
Grayson Filippo said that the academy has opened his eyes to more possibilities in engineering. He entered the engineering pathway at Lemoore to work in computer software to create video games and is now entertaining the idea of working in solar energy, mechanics and cars.
To help Boyer run the academy, there are two teaching assistants, Sonny Quinday and Wyatt Bonine, who have previously participated in the program.
Bonine said that the program opened his eyes to the benefits of solar. Quinday said the program showed him how much more improvement there can be in terms of solar energy.
This year’s program finished Friday with a presentation of the student’s business plans. Their proposals will be presented to a panel of judges who have careers in fields that engineering students can take.
The judges and students also are to have interactions to help mentor the students to even further improve their projects.