Five teams of students took part in Plymouth Whitemarsh High School’s (PWHS) second Open Minds competition on February 15. PWHS was the first high school to partner with the LaSalle University Center for Entrepreneurship (LCE) on the Open Minds program. LCE created Open Minds in 2015.
Open Minds asks students to envision a creative, plausible action to support one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The students were given several hours to research a specific real-world program, develop a proposal detailing how the problem may be addressed and share that proposal with a brief presentation.
A team of judges evaluated the students’ presentations based on creativity, practicality, impact and more. The top three teams received prizes with each member of the winning team getting $100, second-place team members $75 and third-place team members earning $50. The monies were to be used for STEAM related materials.
The team of Jake Davis, Matthew Dolin and Aidan Fiermonte took the top prize for their “Bird Omni Re-Directional System” (BORD). The students’ idea involved outfitting jet planes with speaker systems that emit ultrasonic waves to deter birds from flying near the engines.
Second place went to the team of Alan Ellinger and Jena Lui. Their “Let’s Gro” program proposed using plant life and eco-friendly paint to beautify decaying buildings in inner cities.
The team of Fatima Alsammak, Sydney Borislow, Caroline Borio and Annika Eisner placed third for their app “Study Mates,” which connected students online with peers who are proficient in a certain subject area. The same group won the first PWHS Open Minds competition for proposing a K-12 anti-bullying program.