Energy Smart 2020

Students show care for God’s creation in video, art, essay

Story by Jordan Whiteko

Multimedia Content Manager

More than 100 students from Catholic schools in the Diocese of Greensburg entered the Energy Smart 2020 Poster, Essay, and Video contest, which was designed as a way to evangelize young Catholics and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the five-year anniversary of Laudato si’, Pope Francis’ letter about caring for the environment, what he calls our common home.

The school closures in March due to COVID-19 forced some changes in how the contest carried forward. Winners were selected in July.

Caring for our common home can be expressed in many ways. To see more Energy Smart 2020 entries, visit


 “There’s so much out there and this world could be so much more if people just put in the time,” said Kendalyn Umbel, who is entering eighth grade this fall at Queen of Angels Catholic School, North Huntingdon.

In her winning essay, “A Nobel Calling,” Kendalyn uses quotes from the Bible, including, “There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number — living things both large and small” (Psalm 104:25).

She said she knows that the sea is huge and there is more that could be discovered, so we need to take better care of God’s gift to us.

Kendalyn said she was thrilled to win the contest, but even more excited that people are going to hear her voice addressing the world’s environmental challenges.


“God gave us the Earth, and we should take care of it like we take care of toys or like we take care of our house because the Earth is our only home,” said Lucia Cicconi, a kindergartner at Mary Queen of Apostles School, New Kensington, last year. She and her younger sister, Francesca, won the video portion of the contest.

Lucia said she and Francesca think about the environment every day by recycling with their family and making sure the blinds are open and the lights are off during sunny days. Lucia also likes to have meatless Mondays and makes dandelion stew for her family. She said they don’t use any chemicals in their yard so the stew is safe to eat and good for the environment.


The poster created by Jenna Croftcheck, a 2020 graduate of Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School, Connellsville, stood out because it was painted on recycled cardboard. She said “going green” has been her passion since she was young.

“This is our home, and if we want to keep it as great and as beautiful as it is, we have to do our part as well,” Jenna said.

She said she believes people can look around and find old material to “upcycle” — turning something old into something new and useful, such as using old clothing to make masks rather than buying disposable ones that would just get thrown away.


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