Shoreham-Wading River School District

SWR students to work with science, energy pros at LI Youth Summit

While on vacation in California a few months ago, Christian Wesselborg spent his free time editing a 10-minute informative video he’d made with friend and fellow Shoreham-Wading River student Liam Clifford.

The juniors researched renewable energy sources on Long Island and created the video in hopes of qualifying for the 2017 Long Island Youth Summit, which will be held Friday at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue.

“We thought it was a good topic to research because there’s so much near us,” Christian said of their independent study. “We have wind farms and the solar farms in Shoreham. It’s central to our community.”

It turned out they picked the right topic. Out of almost 500 students, 300 — including Liam and Christian, both 16 — were chosen to attend the event.

In its eighth year, the summit brings high school students together for a day of interactive workshops with experts in the fields of medicine, environment, business, the economy and leadership.

It’s designed to “engage young people as early as possible in thinking about and solving the problems related to local and regional, social, economic and environmental issues,” reads a post on the summit’s website.

Students will meet with professionals in the field most directly related to the topic of their submitted project. Christian and Liam will take part in numerous environmental workshops and lessons.

“I think it will be interesting to see the actual experts on this topic and what ideas they have for the future,” Liam said.

The day ends with a ceremony at which the top project — either a video, essay or art/photography piece — in each category will be named.

To complete their video, the friends spoke to professionals in the energy field, conducted interviews, researched companies, recorded audio voiceovers, compiled images and more.

Their favorite part of the experience was filming a scene at the Shoreham power plant that explained structure’s the history and purpose. Liam said it was all the “great things that come from the summit” — such as scholarships and travel opportunities — that prompted him and Christian to enter.

While the teens hope to win first place overall, they agreed they are most looking forward to being able to discuss renewable energy topics with respected professionals in the field.

“It’ll be nice to see how our research can compare to someone who is involved in this and is trying to get things implemented,” Christian said. “We can see what they think are the problems with this we may not be aware of.”

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Photo: From left, Shoreham-Wading River juniors Christian Wesselborg and Liam Clifford were chosen to attend the highly competitive 2017 Long Island Youth Summit, which was held Friday at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. (Credit: Nicole Smith)