MANCHESTER – East Catholic High School’s engineering team has been selected to compete in the final round of the SourceAmerica Design Challenge being held Feb. 23-25 in Washington, D.C.
The national engineering competition creates workplace technology for people with disabilities. Students partner with an organization that employs people with disabilities or an individual with a disability to invent a process, device, system or software to overcome a workplace barrier.
This service learning opportunity develops engineering, communication, writing, math, presentation and social skills while helping the community.
East Catholic’s engineering team is one of five selected from throughout the nation to compete in the finals.
The students from East Catholic will be competing for a $15,000 grand prize.
The team has partnered with a local agency, MARC Inc. of Manchester, an agency dedicated to the support and advocacy of people with disabilities, for this project. The team worked with MARC client Robert Noll, a worker at MARC Inc., who has been blind since birth and also has a cognitive disability.
The team created a device called the RUD (Robert’s U-bolt device) to assist Mr. Noll with his daily work in putting nuts onto a U-bolt properly. Before using the RUD, Mr. Noll required constant supervision in order to complete his task of locating and screwing the proper nuts into a U-bolt. The RUD has given him the ability to work independently and efficiently.
The members of the engineering team who will travel to the finals are team captain Gabe Buenrostro, ’16; Garrett Carlson, ’15; John DiLoreto, ’16; Emma Dolen, ’16; and Alex Fernez, ’15.
They will be accompanied by their coach, Jon Sargent; high school mentor Susan Fennelly; and principal Jay Hartling. While in Washington, the team plans to meet with Congressmen John Larson and Joe Courtney and Senator Chris Murphy and plans to take a tour of the Capitol.
In photo, from left in front, are students Emma Dolen and Gabe Buenrostro, MARC Inc. client Robert Noll, and students Alex Fernez and Garrett Carlson. In back, Jay Hartling, principal; Jon Sargent, engineering coach; MARC Inc. representative Ben Davis; student John DiLoreto; MARC representative Kevin Zingler; and Sue Fennelly, East Catholic teacher and mentor.