SANDOWN – Students at Sandown North and Central Schools were recently lauded for their skills in invention at the Young Inventors’ Program Celebration in Penacook.
Each year in March, young inventors from across New Hampshire get together at Merrimack Valley High School in Penacook to showcase their creativity and problem-solving skills and be rewarded and recognized for their efforts. The inventions and presentations are often honed through Invention Conventions at their schools. Administered by the Academy of Applied Science, the Young Inventors’ Program reaches out to 600 New Hampshire schools and 5,000 students each year.
This year’s Young Inventors’ challenge asked students to think about inventions that will keep them safe while playing sports or participating in a sports or fitness related activity.
Central school fourth grader Chris Beyrent received high honors for his Speed Light Hockey Puck, a puck that lights up in different colors depending on its velocity. Beyrent’s invention won both the IEEE Electric Award and the Palleiko Innovation Award.
“Chris’ invention was great,” said Ian Palleiko, program alumnus and judge. “He equipped the puck with an accelerometer and programmed the microcontroller himself – with open source coding, too, which makes it even better. I appreciated that.”
The Palleiko Invention Award is known at the celebration as “the hacker’s award” and goes to the person who creates the most unique innovation by modifying existing unrelated items. The award itself is an origami 5 integrated tetrahedron dodecahedron made out of cash.
The presenter of the award, Ian Palleiko of Rollinsford, is a five-time competitor at the Young Inventors’ Program and now volunteers as a judge. Palleiko also teaches for the MIT Spark program in Cambridge, Mass.
“I’ve always done the majority of my learning on my own, outside of school,” he said. “Kids need the freedom to find what they love and someone, a parent, teacher, or one of these judges, to encourage them to find a way to make it happen. That’s exactly what the Young Inventors’ Program offers. You’re free to create your own project and to work entirely on your own terms. You set your own limits, or lack of limits, which is exactly what gives kids like Chris the opportunity to excel.”
Placing third for the Electric Award was North School first grader Sean Violette with his Paper Airplane Launcher. Sean was also recognized for his work by taking first in the Fun and Leisure category and as the Best in Grade.
Central fourth grader Lauren Violette placed Best in Grade for her USB Solar Charger.
North School kindergartener Jayden Peralta was recognized in the Original and Unique category for Interchangeable Pet Shoes.