St. Michaels Student Jack Gill Awarded $5,000 Hannah Prize

Jack Gill, a St. Michaels High School (SMHS) sophomore, was surprised at this week’s awards assembly to learn that he was the winner of the annual Hannah Prize for creative thinking on environmental issues.

Photo by Maggie Gowe

Photo by Maggie Gowe

The Hannah Prize was created in 2013 by St. Michaels resident Ann Hymes to celebrate her daughter Hannah’s unbounded energy, creativity, and desire to save and cherish the environment.  The competition is open only to current students at St. Michaels High School.

“If you had $5,000, how would you contribute to environmental sustainability, innovation, or climate study?”  A panel of judges determined that Gill best answered the question, in less than 1,000 words, with a fun and innovative idea that will engage young people in greater awareness of their impact on the environment.  The finalists were Gill and junior Emily Eaton.

Gill’s plan is to fund a class at the Easton YMCA summer camp for children to learn the importance of recycling and how it contributes to the environment.  Participants will create musical instruments from trash and recycled material that they bring from home, while learning the need to reduce, reuse, recycle.

He writes, “For incentive the kids would have a final show where the camp counselors, families, and other camp attendees would listen to the music and instruments they created from their own trash.  The overall goal of this is not just to have fun, but also to learn about what is happening to the Earth they are living in and what they can do to make a difference.” Gill’s winning proposal was titled, “The Environment is in Treble.”

The Hannah Prize judges, all enthusiastic environmental stewards, were:
*  Hymes, a retired real estate broker who is passionate about sustainable communities, has created and maintains a native plant
garden for St. Michaels.
   *  Briggs Cunningham, Energy Programs Manager for the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College, who is committed to theintegration of ecological and social values, and
   *  Margo Bailey, longtime mayor of Chestertown, MD, who has a keen interest in green technology and finding hands-on solutions to
environmental issues.

Hymes quipped, “I look forward to seeing the concert CD from this year’s winning submission!”  She emphasized that the Hannah Prize is a reward for out-of-the-box thinking about environmental issues, a prize for ideas; it is not a scholarship.  How could $5,000 make a difference in 2017?

For more information, contact her at:

Write a Letter to the Editor on this Article

We encourage readers to offer their point of view on this article by submitting the following form. Editing is sometimes necessary and is done at the discretion of the editorial staff.