HOUGHTON, Mich. (WJMN) – It sounds like a fairly straightforward contest, submit a 30 to 45 second video, encouraging their peers to support electric vehicles. It’s called the ‘rEV Challenge.’

This year, over 3,300 students from 16 states and 48 schools had the opportunity to enter the rEV Challenge. Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) sponsored the program for 6 schools in the UPPCO service area, giving 526 students the opportunity to compete nationally. Two students from Houghton Middle School were surprised Wednesday afternoon with first place and runner up prizes.

“That video is the best in the country,” said Andrew McNeally, Energy Efficiency Program Administrator at UPPCO to first place winner, Morgan Saatio. “You competed against 3300 other students, 14 states 48 schools. So you have won a gift certificate for $2,000 towards an Ebike. And your teacher, Sarah, also won $1,000 for an Ebike.”

“Snowboard in general is just an inspiration to me to do more things like this,” said 7th grader Saatio. “And for the electric vehicles, I feel like it’ll bring more people to realize how good it is for retirement. Pretty impressive when you consider the level of competition.”

“I think students need to realize that even at their young age, they have a role and they’re stepping up as the next generation to take over these problems,” said Sarah Geborkoff, science teacher. “So it was great to be able to participate in this project.”