After four consecutive years of winning the regional Lexus Eco Challenge, Hanahan Middle School students placed first in the national competition.

The grand prize for winning the nationals was $30,000. Of the winnings, $20,000 will be split among the team. The remaining $10,000 will go to the school and teacher adviser, Alexandra Davis.

The school has won first place among middle schools nationally for the past three years. This is its first grand-prize win.

The team collected plastic bottle caps for its project, Caps for a Cause. It will use the caps to make a bike rack, bench and picnic table for the school.

“The thing I really liked was their diversity. They did very serious work in terms of going to the Statehouse and speaking to their representatives. Plus, they did a lot of activities like the cap collection. They also had fun,” said Lexus philanthropy manager and competition judge Nancy Hubbell.

“They put so much passion into it ... and they were successful in the process.”

The goal was 50,000 caps, but they ended up with almost 70,000. They collected 20,000 in just the first two weeks.

The school partnered with the College of Charleston Office of Sustainability, Blackbaud, SPAWAR and other local businesses to reach their goal.

Team members include Lexis Davis, Tyler Futrell, Caroline Hall, Andrea Heyward, Kimberly Johnson, Madison Moeller, Kirsten Songer, Kaylee Stacey, Britney Tsui and Aaron VanMaanen.

Reach Jade McDuffie at 937-5560.