Pomperaug High School (PHS) students swept the top three places in the Outstanding Overall Project category at the CT Student Innovation Expo, known as Skills 21 Expo Fest’ 19, held at the Xfinity Theater on May 31st and June 1st in Wallingford, CT. PHS students also placed in the top three places in the NGSS 1 team category, placed 1st the Team Entrepreneurship category, placed 1st in both the Entrepreneurship and Technology Capstone categories, and earned 2nd place finishes in the Capstone categories of Entrepreneurship, Science, and Technology.
Expo Fest ’19, hosted by Skills 21 at EdAdvance, is a competition held annually in Connecticut, in which high school students work as individuals or in teams to design, develop, and implement an innovative product or solution to the 2019 Innovation Challenge, “What If.”
As part of the Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, Expo Fest is the culminating challenge of a year of work employing 21st century learning skills to design and develop an Expo Fest project. The event highlights “inspired learning, creative design and student solutions.” Students work to design, develop, and implement an innovative product or solution to a given challenge. Expo Fest then provides students with an opportunity to showcase their innovative, cross-curricular products, services, community actions, digital media and film programs.
Over 2000 Connecticut students participated in ExpoFest across ten Challenge Categories. Depending on the project, teams were judged by a volunteer panel of over 75 scientists, filmmakers, designers, hardware and software engineers, business professionals, and university and college faculty.
Approximately 90 Capstone projects (individually submitted projects) were entered from high school students across the state of Connecticut. The Capstone Experience course is the final course in the sequences of classes in the Digital Academy. It is an opportunity for students to showcase their knowledge and apply the skills they learned. Students pitch “shark tank” like presentations to panels of expert industry and higher education judges who scored the presentations based on viability, creativity, thematic resonance, research and professionalism.
Senior students from Pomperaug High School were highly successful, capturing the top 3 places in the Outstanding Overall Capstone Project category.
Link to individual project summaries can be found here.
Riley Fitzpatrick placed 1st with his project titled, “Humansight” a software solution to improve and simplify the relationship between executives and employees. https://humansight.weebly.com/
Zachary Hoedl placed 2nd with his project, “Mindset”, that uses graphic design elements to elicit certain mindsets that are useful in the modern office. https://mindsetofficedesigns.wixsite.com/mindset
Patrick Ziemke, placed 3rd, for his project “Wireless Defender” a product that protects wireless networks from cybercriminals who may be trying to connect to the wireless router. https://wirelessdefender.weebly.com/
Riley also finished first in the Entrepreneurship Category and Patrick finished first in the Technology Category. Students from PHS also placed second in the following three categories: Entrepreneurship, Science, and Technology.
“Following the process of the Digital Academy, I learned a great foundation of knowledge in the field and it will most certainly help me in the future. The research I did for my project allowed me to speak with professionals in the field as a peer and not as a mentor. It was the best decision I made to participate in the Academy, I now have a vested interested in Cyber Technology and it opened my eyes to technology in this emerging field,” said Patrick, who will be attending Champlaign College in the Fall to study Cybersecurity.
In addition to individual awards, teams of PHS students in grades 9th-12th participated in Expo Fest, receiving numerous awards in various categories, including a top three sweep in the “NGSS 1” category, where students designed a product that included an experiment aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and a first place finish in the Entrepreneurship category.
The 10th grade team placed 1st in the NGSS Category with their project titled Clam2O, a system designed to filter water through biomimicry of clams. Team members included: Grayson Caraglior, Liam DeLaney, Erin Dolan, Tyler Flood, Nathan Galiano, Nathan Geary, Gregory Grom, Shivaun Matthews, Maya Melita, Kiersten Morely, Christopher Niver, Brynn Paccione, Cole Stevens, Nicholas Welton, and Mikayla White.
The 11th and 12th grade combined team placed 2nd in the NGSS Category with their project titled CPower, a turbine that converts the potential energy of crashing waves into useable, electrical energy. Team members included: Michael Andruk, Sidney Baron, Levi Fitzpatrick, Ryan Furr, Justin Kwapong, Nicolas Lattarulo, Jordan Lebron, Madison Markelon, Jacob Nicolari, Micaela Sepelak, Isabella Storey, and Maximus Terrill
The 9th grade team placed 3rd with their project titled, Spectral Shift, which provides effective light converting glasses to make the road a safer place at night. Team members included: Emily Aldo, Alana Brockett, Aidan Butler, David Consiglio, Evan Gonzalez, Zachary Gower, Sarah Jensen, Nathan Markelon, Tessa Massi, Andrew McNamara, and Thomas Volpe.
The 11th and 12th grade combined team placed first in the Entrepreneurship category for their project titled, Mergemaster, that integrates blind-spot technology into existing motorcycle helmets to increase roadway safety. Team members included: Michael Andruk, Sidney Baron, Griffin Browne, Ryan Dagan, Jeffrey Eisenbach Ethan McNamara, Mitchel Ewing, Levi Fitzpatrick, Ryan Furr, Tyler Goodson Vladylav Hrishin, Matthew Karp, Dylan Kasidas, Nina Koobatian, Jordan LeBron, Michael Lewis, Madison Markelon, Ryan O’Keeffe, Bailey Quinn, David Satkowski, Micaela Sepelak, Zachary Smith, Isabella Storey, Jonathan Tapia, Maximum Terrill.
“Across the board, all students gave incredible efforts and had products that we could really be proud of and that have Pomperaug’s name on. It is really inspiring to see these students grow into independent thinkers who are gaining the skills needed to compete in the real world,” said Kelly Pelletier, Library Media Specialist and teacher in the Digital Academy program.
The Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences at PHS is a course sequence involving science and elective courses that incorporates project-based learning and an opportunity to develop 21st Century Skills such as problem solving, collaboration and communication. All science courses part of the course sequence are aligned with current CT curriculum standards and technology elective courses are part of the program to address important skills and emerging media in the digital arts.