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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 14, 2009

BKW students shine again as problem-solving inventors

By Zach Simeone

BERNE — Following a school tradition, eight Berne-Knox-Westerlo students are semi-finalists in a regional inventing competition, which saw over 1,100 submissions this year.

Invention Convention 2009 is the latest iteration of an annual competition, in which students from the Capital District, kindergarten through eighth grade, invent a solution to a problem from their past. Child inventors came to the competition this year from as far west as Canajoharie, as far north as Warren County, and as far south as Dutchess County.

“The finalists from BKW are always invited to the late June board meeting, where they demonstrate their inventions,” said Superintendent Steve Schrade.

The inventions are on display at the Schenectady Museum through May 28, when the top 25 inventions will be announced as the Capital Region finalists, at the first of two awards ceremonies.

“All the children who made it to the top 100 are invited with their families,” said Ilene Frank, director of education at the Schenectady Museum, “and they get a T-shirt and a goody bag.”

The 25 finalists will be recognized at a second ceremony in Binghamton on June 13, where they will receive a trophy for their efforts.

The eight semi-finalists from BKW, all sixth-graders, are:

— Sam Abbott, and his “Keyhole Light”;

— Eden Becker, and her “Halfzee”;

— Lucas Becker, and his “Sweep Aside”;

— Cody Fisher, and his “Tip-Up Light”;

— Dylan Germani, and his “Detachable Walker Wheelchair”;

— Allison Haller, and her “Christmas Tree Fire Extinguisher Ornament”;

— Shannon Quay, and her “Locker Stopper”; and

— Allie Tedeschi, and her Eco-Friendly Windshield Washer Fluid Dispenser.”

The finalists are selected by a panel of about 30 judges, said Frank. On the panel are General Electric employees and retirees, museum staff, museum board members, and patent attorneys.

“We have already had our judging for the top 25, but I can’t say who they are,” Frank laughed.

The competition, Frank said, is about more than winning the trophy.

“It’s about their own realization that they can achieve what they set out to accomplish, and be inventors,” she said. “It’s about the pride felt by them and their families.”

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