Biodiesel educator honored with Presidential Award

While the biodiesel industry has recognized Darrin Peters of Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, Mo., before, this time the recognition came from the president's desk. He was recognized for his biodiesel-related work inside and outside the class.
By NBB Staff | September 02, 2014

Congratulations are in order for an innovative educator who for years has used biodiesel as a key example in his curriculum to get students excited about science. While the biodiesel industry has recognized Darrin Peters of Rockwood Summit High School in Fenton, Mo., before, this time the recognition came from the president’s desk.

This fall Peters was recognized for his innovative biodiesel curriculum in his organic chemistry class, and for his efforts outside the classroom to organize an after-school biodiesel club to engage students through real-world, hands-on experience. Peters was honored with a Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators in a ceremony at the White House along with 16 other teachers from across the country. The award was presented by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. EPA.

“These awards recognize the outstanding contributions of student leaders and exceptional teachers on some of the most pressing issues facing our nation, including combating climate change and instituting sustainability practices,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Environmental education encourages academic achievement, especially in the sciences, and develops the next generation of leaders in environmental stewardship.”

The National Biodiesel Board is very familiar with Peters’ efforts. Rockwood Summit High School sits roughly 100 miles from NBB’s Jefferson City office, and NBB has closely followed the program and coordinated with them along the way. When NBB staff heard about the call for candidates, Peters was the first to come to mind.

“Darrin has done tremendous work for the biodiesel industry and for his students over the years,” said Don Scott, NBB director of sustainability. “We strongly encouraged him to apply for the award because it was such a great fit. We are so happy to see a biodiesel champion honored with such a prestigious award.”

The curriculum shows students how to use science to find solutions to solve local economic and global environmental issues and exposes them to potential career opportunities in their community. The students also learn about agricultural systems and how natural oils like soybean oil and recycled cooking oil can be used to produce renewable fuel from locally available feedstocks.

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