BROOKVILLE — Students from Brockway Area Junior-Senior High School dominated an environmental competition last Tuesday, sweeping all categories.
According to a press release from the Jefferson County Conservation District (JCCD), the Tri-County Envirothon is an environment-related event that tests students’ knowledge of environmental topics while competing against other schools. JCCD said 100 students participated from Brockway, Brookville, Clarion-Limestone, East Forest, Keystone, North Clarion, Punxsutawney, Redbank, East Forest, and West Forest.
“It’s a five-person group test,” explained Brockway senior Cecilia Manno. “You go to stations, and each test is either audio or written. Whoever gets the highest score is the winner of that station.”
The stations contained knowledge about forestry, aquatics, wildlife, soils, and ag and the environment. Brockway took top marks in each category, accomplishing a unprecedented sweep.
“We managed to snag the highest score in every category!” Manno said. “We’re going to Envirothon States!”
Manno was part of an Envirothon States team before, albeit not by such a commanding performance.
“I went two years ago, and we got 32nd out of 64, which is top half,” she said. “I expect to do better this time. We’re a small school, so we hope to do our best.”
For Brockway ag teacher Kyle Norman, the scoreboard brought mixed emotions.
“I was honestly a little embarrassed that no other teams won anything,” he admitted. “Mostly, I was flabbergasted at how well the students did! I was full of pride that the students did so well. It was awesome, especially since no one has ever swept all the stations before.”
While Manno was the spokesperson for her team, she was careful to point out that without her teammates, there would have been no sweep.
“It’s a group effort, so everyone has their strengths and weaknesses,” Manno said. “For example, I was pretty helpless when it came to identifying wildlife and aquatic creatures. But Jacob DeBerti was really good with fish! So, they pulled through with that. Emily Roush and I were the science-based ones, so we helped out then. We did really well as a team.”
Manno, DeBerti, and Roush were complemented by Austin Pringle and Tanner Pearce. Brockway scored a 394, followed by Keystone at 323, and Brookville at 305.
The press release from the conservation district praised the students from Brockway, but also added that West Forest and Redbank Valley did well in the aquatics stations.
Brockway will compete at the state competition May 21 and 22 at the University of Pittsburgh – Johnstown.