EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – KTSM’s annual Weather Fest took place on Saturday, Sept. 30, with four school districts and dozens of teams competing. Elementary-, middle- and high-school teams all competed for coveted awards, especially the “Ultimate Weather Warrior Award,” the top honor at the festival.

Several projects were awarded, including ones that would help ease the workload of farmers, create snow in the El Paso desert, and even a project that would assist with the migrant crisis.

However, it was the team from Franklin High that was awarded with the highest honor for their project called “Beat the Heat.” It focused on the urban heat effect, which occurs when a city experiences much warmer temperatures that rural areas and how the heat affects student-athletes at their school.

Andrew Manoni and Michelle Jimenez, members of the team, said this project is to help raise awareness.

“We wanted to do something that was something, not just a science project, but also goes beyond that and wanted to represent our high school and throughout the district to do something that can positively change EPISD,” Manoni said.

“We’re going to raise awareness about how the turf and all the negative effects heat can have on our athletes, as well as the jerseys. I know the lighter color jerseys absorb less heat which would be better for our athletes. We’ll hopefully raise awareness to help our student-athletes be safer,” Jimenez said.

The team’s teacher, Michael Lechner, was with the team through every step of their project. He is proud of their accomplishment and that their hard work is getting the recognition he believes they deserve.

“I think the team did a fantastic job in terms of recognizing a relevant problem and trying to come up with a solution and they did a fantastic job finding a solution to an important problem that’s protecting student athletes,” Lechner said.

Now that the team has fully developed research and a newfound award in their corner, they hope to share their findings. Team member Luisa Granados wants their project to help students at the El Paso Independent School District and hopefully go even further.

“We want to really talk to the superintendent about it, really speak to our principal about it, to see if we can slowly start it at Franklin and hopefully other schools will start to follow what we do and hopefully it will become an EPISD thing and hopefully in the future other districts can also adapt to this idea,” Granados said.