HAZLET – The young inventors of the Writer Lighter – a pen with a light powered by magnetic energy – took home a top honor in the statewide 2019 STEAM Tank Challenge.
The team representing Raritan Valley Elementary School in Hazlet won second place out of 33 competitors in the elementary school division. Their product, The Writer Lighter, is designed for people who don’t have easy access to electricity, such as a soldier writing a letter far from home, or a resident who has temporarily lost power in their dwelling.
The Writer Lighter team members are Madison Burgos, Caden Cregg-Wedmore, Payton Fleming, Ella Herman and Jeannette Therien, with Dominique Russo as the Teacher Advisor.
“I was thrilled to hear that they placed second out of all of the schools that entered in the state,” said Raritan Valley Principal John Verderosa. “Ms. Russo and the students worked extremely hard to prepare and the parents were so supportive. It really was a total team effort.”
STEAM Tank 2019 is a Shark Tank inspired competition, sponsored by the United States Military and the New Jersey School Boards Association which encourages students from elementary school all the way to high school to explore the areas of STEAM – science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.
Student teams created or modified an invention to solve a real world problem of their choice and pitched it to a panel of judges. Over 550 students entered this year’s competition, held in Atlantic City. Hazlet was well represented with four teams in late October’s final round. They represented Raritan Valley, Cove Road, Beers Street and Hazlet Middle schools. Read about their inventions in this article on The Hazletonian.
On November 7, the team returned to Atlantic City for the awards ceremony, elated.
“I’m really astonished that we did so well and I’m really proud of all of us,” said Ella Herman. Madison Burgos agreed, “We did a great job,” she said. The team members began the competition while at Raritan Valley School, but have since moved up and are fifth graders at Beers Street School.
“I’m just very proud of the way they worked together throughout this whole process,” said Dominique Russo, their advisor. “They definitely deserved this win.”
For the next steps of this project, the team “hopes to get a patent on their invention,” said teammate Jeannette Therien.
Here are the 2019 STEAM Tank Challenge winners:
In the High School division:
First place: Henry Hudson Regional High School
Second place: Manasquan High School
Third place: Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
In the Middle School Division:
First place: Howell Middle School South
Second place: Pitman Middle School
Third place: Howell Middle School South
In the Elementary Division:
First place: Aldrich Elementary School
Second place: Raritan Valley School
Third place: Memorial Elementary School
Two additional teams will be recognized by the New Jersey School Boards Association and the U.S. Army in the category of sustainability, to be announced at a later date.