"I have a brother at home who has autism," said Brookville Intermediate School eighth grader Alyssa Jenkins. "Most clothes feel like sandpaper to him on his skin. If we win, I want to make a type of clothing that looks like normal clothing, but feels comfortable to him."
Brookville Intermediate School is one of 20 schools nationwide to be named a semifinalist in the Northrop Grumman Foundation's Fab School Lab competition. Students like Alyssa are the reason why Brookville STEM teacher Katie Henry applied for the grant; she has big ideas and needs the facility to bring those ideas to life.
In June, the school submitted a two-minute video and essay for the chance to win one of five grants for up to $100,000 from Northrop Grumman Foundation to construct a state-of-the-art STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lab. From the 200 middle schools which entered the competition, Brookville was selected for a national semifinalist spot.
"The vision for Brookville is to create a state-of-the-art design studio that contains robotics equipment, science kits, microscopes and other learning tools, and provides a designated space for our students to learn. That's what a Fab Lab is," said Henry. "Students will be able to create using art and technology."
Last year, Brookville hosted five renewable energy-themed STEM nights. More than 500 students participated in these events, with nearly 200 in attendance for the final event, Wearable Technology: Future of Fashion. Students used solar-powered LEDs, sewing machines and fabric to create clothing that lights up in the dark.
"Our students want more ways to create – they want to learn and to have the opportunity to turn their dreams into reality. A state-of-the-art STEM lab is a tool which will allow them to pursue those dreams," Henry said. "We've built this momentum for STEM in Brookville, and we need the public's help to win this Fab Lab for our students."
The Northrop Grumman Foundation is asking the public to vote for the winning schools on Facebook. Five middle schools will be selected from the 20 national semifinalists to receive the $100,000 grants for new STEM labs. "Having this Fab Lab will make us better as a whole," said Jenkins. "It would help us all."
Voting for Brookville Intermediate School will take place TODAY – Friday, Nov. 20 – only via the FabSchoolLabs Facebook page. Facebook users can cast one vote per account. Please take a moment on Friday, Nov. 20, to click on the link and help Brookville win a new Fab Lab.
For more information, visit www.brookvilleschools.org.
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