Area high school seniors met Tuesday at Union Station as part of Project Lead the Way’s Senior Showcase, the culmination of several specialty classes and months of preparation. The students shared their answers to real-world problems, with many of them eager to have the chance to bring them to realization.
For Blue Springs High School seniors Elizabeth Lee, Tyler Dye and Annabell Pham, this chance is already on their schedules.
The team presented its capstone project highlighting plans to bring solar power to Blue Springs high schools by using sets of solar panels. Dye explained the district is currently working on including solar power in phases, and the designs he and his team have been working on have a chance to be used this summer.
As part of its project, the team has been working engineers from MC Power Companies to create designs, which include what Lee described as a “heat shade map” which shows where energy would be lost and where it would be most easily gathered.
Lee said the team began working on the project at the beginning of the school year, looking at renewable energy in the district and researching both windmills and solar energy. In October, their teacher told them MC Power was working and that they would have an opportunity to have their work put to good use.
The team is scheduled to pitch its designs to the Board of Education on May 6.
“From there we’ll see how they think about it,” said Lee. “It was an incredible opportunity, working with MC Power to create something that will be used for the next 30 years at least.”
Lee said the best part of the project, beyond being able to help their district, was doing something beneficial for the planet.
“In our day and age that means a lot to me,” she said.
Students from the Independence, Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit and Fort Osage school districts made their own presentations, including Brendan Stevens from William Chrisman High School, who was inspired by a close friend’s use of a prosthetic leg to play sports.
Stevens said he originally wanted to design a durable, contact-ready prosthetic for football but changed his thought process to include more running sports. He researched car suspension systems, drawing inspiration for shock-absorption mechanics. At the same time, he spoke with specialized doctors to find a basic design, and to discover everything a prosthetic needs to be functional.
Stevens was another of the many students taking advantage of Project Lead the Way in order to hopefully jump start their life goals.
“I felt like it would be a good opportunity for me; it helped me get looked at and known,” he said. “It’s a good start on a career. This gives me good insight into what working as an actual engineer would be.”
This year’s senior showcase event featured over 480 total students, with students focusing on either engineering design and development or biomedical innovation. Students also competed for Innovator Awards, which were granted to students exemplifying what it means to be an innovator and showing excellent marketing skills.
Mackenzie Seigler and Gabrielle Pycior from Blue Springs South High School were selected for Innovator Awards by the judges for their projects. Seigler focused on studying how the designs of petri dishes influenced contamination, and Pycior examined a potential treatment using cannabinoid oil to prevent seizures.
Haley Chase and Chole Harris from Fort Osage High were also chosen. They focused on designing a new prosthetic specifically for children playing softball and baseball.