High school students advance to states in PA Governor’s STEM Challenge

| March 19, 2019

Odyssey of the Mind - CLAD1WEBFor the second year in a row, the Solanco High School STEM team has won the Pennsylvania Governor’s STEM Challenge, and on Monday team members demonstrated their innovative and winning STEM project to Solanco School Board Directors and district administrators. (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.)

The Governor’s challenge to students was to solve a problem using STEM. Talented Solanco students Patrick Hodgson, Tim Fetterman, Gabi Dolan, Jack Hertzler and Jenna Brown created the CLAD – Classroom, Lockdown, Assistance, Device – to provide additional, enhanced safety for students and teachers in the event of a school intruder.

In the photo are team coach and Solanco Teacher of the Gifted Caley Roark, and team members Patrick Hodgson, Tim Fetterman and Gabi Dolan (not in photo: Jack Hertzler and Jenna Brown).

The CLAD they invented is a PVC cylinder that mounts above a classroom door. In the event of a school intruder emergency, the CLAD will release a Kevlar curtain at the door to block the intruder’s view into the classroom (no need for a teacher and/or student to approach the door and pull down the curtain.) The Kevlar curtain could also deflect or fragment bullets fired into it. The CLAD also locks the door by removing the small magnet that teachers place on the door when needed to block the door from locking, and the CLAD provides additional reinforcement by cinching the door shut at the hinge typically found at the tops of doors in classrooms (similar to the two hinges at top of doors in the background in the photo.)

School board members and students discussed the cost to build a CLAD (currently $370) and how possible modifications could be made to make them more affordable, the creation of a single switch that would activate all CLADs throughout a school instead of individual switches in all classrooms, and other potential improvements.

This is the second year in a row that Solanco students have won the regional Pennsylvania Governor’s STEM Challenge contest, and the team now advances to the state competition to be held in Harrisburg in April. Prior to states, the Solanco team will participate in a “Shark Tank”-type contest at Bloomsburg University where they will present, explain and promote the benefits of their CLAD in an effort to “sell it” to the judges.

Category: Featured Stories, High School News, School Board News

About the Author ()

Keith Kaufman is the Director of Community Relations for Solanco School District. 786-5617.

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