Castaic High student wins scholarship for PSA, splits it with classmate 


After Castaic High School senior Grace Kelley recently received a $1,000 scholarship she earned from her Our Future is Science project, she decided she wanted to split the money with the person who helped make it happen — fellow Castaic senior Torrin Reichers.   

Kelley did not have to do this, but felt compelled to after Reichers produced and edited the video that helped secure the scholarship.  

The prompt of the competition was, “How could you use science to solve an issue in your community?”  

Kelley’s answer was, “Permeable concrete.” 

Kelley was fascinated when her advanced placement environmental science teacher, Kate Song, announced that an organization had launched a nationwide competition for science students to make a public service announcement.  

“We were experiencing a lot of rain, and it kills me because at Castaic specifically, we have a lot of flooding and none of the water was being used for drought prevention or anything like that,” said Kelley. “So I researched more into it and I was shocked to hear that we don’t use any of our rainwater for the summer right now and it’s 100 degrees.” 

Permeable concrete is just regular concrete, except that it allows water to be absorbed and pass through pores to restore groundwater and aquifers.  

“You don’t even need to have a water catch system or anything,” said Kelley. “It just is able to help the community in a simple way.” 

Song was teaching about permeable concrete in class and was impressed that Kelley was passionate enough about what it could do for a community to make a video about it.  

“I’m so excited. I love it when kids are able to use the content that we cover in class and apply it to real-world problems and solutions … So it was really exciting that they took on the challenge and were able to make this really cool video that just kind of sheds light on a problem that we do have in our local community,” said Song.  

Kelley said she took on the subject because, according to her research, flooding disproportionally affects people of lower socio-economic status — as homes within the Santa Clarita Valley that are more prone to flooding are often cheaper.   

“Most flood plains disproportionately affect communities of color and people with lower socioeconomic status and so I felt like it’s really important for me and Torrin to speak on, just because that’s an issue that I definitely see occurring in Castaic,” said Kelley. “So I want to try to prevent it.” 

“Kelley is a bright star of Castaic High School. I’m sure if you asked any of the teachers they all know who she is,” said Song. “But particularly for environmental science, she actually has a true and genuine passion for the field … it’s just wonderful to hear that students are using what they learned in the classroom and they’re applying it to life and even career choices … She’s an excellent student and person all around.” 

Kelley said her work is inspired by Leah Thomas —  an advocate for intersectional environmentalism. Kelley graduated from Castaic in June, but because of the inspiration from women like Thomas and Song, she’s decided to become an environmental science major at Lewis & Clark University.  

“I just want the readers to know that environmentalism isn’t what companies make it out to be because it’s always a blame on us as consumers, even though they’re producing a lot of the issues that we have to deal with in our day-to-day life,” said Kelley. “So I just want the readers to know that it’s something that we can go out and work on … I just want them to know that it’s something that they can address and make change.” 

To watch Kelley and Reichers’ video vistit, 

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS