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Students get a kick out of solar presentation

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published April 20, 2018

Detroit Lions punter Sam Martin, center, visited Carter Middle School April 18 to talk about renewable energy and football. Martin supports science, technology, engineering and math education for students.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


WARREN — Detroit Lions punter Sam Martin and representatives from Power Home Solar teamed up for a special visit April 18 to Carter Middle School.

The group visited Jay Holtvluwer’s science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, classes in observance of Earth Day, which is celebrated April 22. Carter, 12000 Masonic Blvd., is part of Warren Consolidated Schools.

Martin, a professional football player in the National Football League, and members of Power Home Solar talked to the students about the benefits of using renewable energy, which includes solar, wind and thermal. Some students and staff members, including Principal Amy Hendry, wore Detroit Lions T-shirts to welcome Martin — although one student was caught sporting a Green Bay Packers jersey.

Solar energy works by capturing the sun’s energy and turning it into electricity for a home or business through panels. Holtvluwer and the students have been talking about renewable energy resources in class. One recent project involved the students — in teams — creating their own futuristic cities using the renewable energy sources they learned about.

Martin partnered with Power Home Solar to support STEM for kids, including future career opportunities in green technology. Power Home Solar, which specializes in solar energy and roofing services, created a STEM education program to get students thinking about how they use energy. Through the program, students learn about the science and math behind the engineering, design, technology and economics of solar power.

“This is something I believe in,” Martin said. “It’s never too early to start thinking about it.”

By having Martin and Power Home Solar at school, Holtvluwer said it gave the students “a firsthand look at solar panels.” Power Home Solar is headquartered in Sterling Heights and works in five states: Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Last Wednesday, Power Home Solar president and co-founder Jayson Waller, national training manager Kenny Klinger, marketing manager/solar consultant Ian Fezzey, co-founder and chief marketing officer Kevin Klink, and Parker Schram, manager of engineering and design, talked to the students about how solar panels provide solar energy.

According to the Power Home Solar group, solar panels are installed on the south side of a home or building to absorb the sun’s energy to warm. When designing a solar panel, there are several aspects to keep in mind, including solar time, shading, time constraints and altitude. As soon as the sun hits a solar panel, it begins to work.

At one point, the mood lightened a bit when Martin — dressed in a Lions jersey and baseball cap —  took a chair with the students and asked several questions to the presenters. Martin then stood at the head of the classroom to take questions from the students.

Martin didn’t begin playing football until he was 17. The Carter crew found out that soccer is his second-favorite sport, which explains his role as a punter.

“That’s how I got into kicking: playing soccer,” he said. Martin also likes basketball and golf.

One student wanted to know what is Martin’s favorite stadium to play at other than Ford Field. That would be U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

“The new Minnesota (stadium) is really cool,” he said.

The star athlete also shared what he does to stay strong on the field.

“I work out. We have to work out,” Martin said. “You have to eat healthy to keep your body up. You can’t be polluting your body and expect to perform at a high level. It’s all about fueling your body.”

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