Chestnut Ridge STEM to represent area

Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec SFC Joe Myers of the Pennsylvania National Guard helps Chestnut Ridge High School students Ben Smith (left) and Shane Felix solve a problem as part of Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8’s Penn­syl­va­nia Governor’s STEM Chal­lenge competition on Tuesday. / Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec

With an invention to close trails during a flood emergency, Chestnut Ridge High School students will ad­vance to the Penn­syl­va­nia Governor’s STEM Chal­lenge competition in Harris­burg.

On Monday, Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 in Altoona hosted a competition between Chestnut Ridge and Hollidaysburg Area Senior high schools to determine the region’s representative to Harrisburg, Shawn Cerully, IU8 event coordinator, said.

The Chestnut Ridge students’ invention was a device that guages water levels of streams and triggers signals along trails to tell hikers not to proceed.

The invention could be developed to work for highways and roads as well, Cerully said.

The Chestnut Ridge team included Shane Felix, Nick Evans, Bethany Derbidge, Ben Smith and Alex Dunlap.

Both Chestnut Ridge and Hollidaysburg Area teams were challenged to invent devices to accomplish a series of practical tasks that can be translated into real life needs.

The students presented their projects to a panel of judges Monday.

The Hollidaysburg team members presented an app they designed for school safety. It would alert first responders of the type of danger as well as show the location of people in danger with a GPS tracker.

In May, Chestnut Ridge will face teams of high school students from across the state.

The challenge tested teams’ communication, prob­lem solving and critical thinking skills while providing students with the opportunity to share their creativity.

The National Guard was also present Monday to give a presentation about the types of STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — jobs in the military, Cerully said.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.

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