West Orange High School students win big at Edison Project


West Orange High School students gained several of the top prizes at the Edison Project competition, conducted by the School of Engineering at Fairfield University. The Edison Project hosted 650 students from 12 high schools who attended workshops throughout the school year at the Connecticut campus to study the work of Thomas Edison and the process of invention.

For the final session, students were invited to compete in the Invention Challenge by producing a prototype of a board game for visually impaired individuals. Winning first place were Ali Solano, Dana Price and Amma Kwateng from West Orange High School. Also from West Orange was the first runner up team, made up of Jeremy Ershow and Stacy Marcus.

In a second competition, the students were challenged to create card towers, using only the cards and no adhesive materials. Joseph Stadel, Harry Bethray and Robert Emerson from Fairfield Preparatory School in Connecticut came in first, while Martin Kotowski, Allen Baru, Mike Santoro and Phil Agustin from West Orange High were on the first runner up team.

The Essay contest first place award went to Dana Price of West Orange. Named first runner up winners in the essay were Johnathan Chia from West Orange and Soo Jung Kim from Ridgefield Memorial High School in New Jersey. Winning honorable mention were Ashley Hohenkirk from Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, N.J., Euri Lee from Ridgefield Memorial, and Ali Solano from West Orange.

The Edison Project was supported by $50,000 in grants from the Charles Edison Fund in East Orange, N.J., and The Dibner Fund in Wilton, Conn. A steering committee, made up of high school teachers from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, worked in conjunction with the Project Director, Dr. Richard G. Weber, associate dean of the School of Engineering at Fairfield University and Mrs. Anna Silva, assistant coordinator of the workshop series, to plan events.

Dr. Evangelos Hadjimichael, dean of the School of Engineering, noted that the young people attending the Edison Project were about the same age as Thomas Edison when he entered the labor market and began a life of invention and accomplishment. He said the project was designed to "inspire young people and help them realize the capacity for creativity within each one of us, and assist them in understanding the transition from the concept of ideas to their realization and their subsequent impact."

Image: board game

Demonstrating the board game they invented are West Orange High School students Amma Kwateng, second from right, and Ali Solano, right. The two students and a third teammate, Dana Price, competed in the Invention Challenge at Fairfield University in Connecticut, where they took first place for Best Invention and were awarded a $150 prize. The event was part of the Edison Project, attended by some 650 students from 12 high schools in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The winning invention, called "Touchy Feely Game," was designed for the visually impaired and relied on various textures, including leather, sand paper, felt, polyester and fur for the players to work their way around the board. The Edison Project brought the students to Fairfield for three different sessions of exploring the world of invention and was conducted by the Fairfield University School of Engineering.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 1, 2001

Vol. 34, No. 28A