Florida Middle School Hosts Celebration and Live Concert for Winners of 2021 Climate Superstars Challenge
April 18, 2022
Michael Pope

Each year, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), Samsung Electronics America, and the EPA's ENERGY STAR® program host the Climate Superstars Challenge, an online educational challenge for middle school classrooms across the country. 



Classrooms can sign up to participate in the challenge for a chance to win new educational technology for their schools. Students have the entire month of October to complete a handful of daily learning tasks geared towards environmental literacy and energy efficiency. 

While six total classrooms nationwide were selected to receive a $5,000 e-voucher from Samsung, only one received the grand prize: a live performance from¯AY Young—musician, entertainer, and United Nations advocate for global energy sustainability—as part of his Battery Tour, which is powered by 100% renewable energy.  

This year, the grand prize-winning classroom belonged to Dr. Marcia Berger at Crystal Lake Middle School in Lakeland, Florida. 

Dr. Berger has participated in the Climate Superstars Challenge every October since it first began in 2019. She said the challenge was easy to incorporate within her existing science curriculum, and was pleasantly surprised at how engaged her students were with the material. 

“It's a lot of fun,” said Berger. “The class even asked to see a few videos more than once.” 

AY Young in front of students
AY Young United Nations advocate for global energy sustainability performing

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Dr. Berger and her students, the entire school was rewarded with a special live performance from AY Young in the Crystal Lake MS gymnasium on April 14. Outside of Dr. Berger's class, the show was a complete surprise for the rest of the students.

Mark Newton, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Samsung Electronics, was on hand to officially recognize Dr. Berger and her students and thank them for their commitment to sustainability. 

“You guys are the superstars that made it possible for everyone here to have fun today,” said Newton.  

He then asked the students to do three things: “Do your homework on the companies you support. Use your passion to take action for the things you believe in. And remember—recycle, reduce, reuse.” 

Kayla Kern, the US Environmental Protection Agency Region 4's Energy Star Coordinator, also shared a short video on the importance of sustainability for students. And then AY Young himself took to the stage to start the show. 

The atmosphere of Young's performance was electric—fitting for being called the Battery Tour—and ended with a giant dance party with Young, the students, and even some teachers getting into the groove.  

While Dr. Berger was happy that her students enjoyed the concert, she appreciated the opportunity to connect that reward with her lessons on environmental sustainability. 

“The most important thing is that they're learning to be sustainable human beings.”