By Lisa Capobianco
Nine Southington students became “recognized inventors” during the 31st Annual Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC).
The fourth and fifth graders who recently competed in the CIC at UConn came home with awards. A total of 20 students from the Southington school district competed during the CIC, which is an internationally recognized non-profit educational program that fosters the critical thinking skills of students in grades K through eight through invention and innovation while supporting interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), according to the group’s website. These students made it to the state-wide level with their inventions after being selected as the top finalists during the district-wide Invention Convention, which took place in April.
“Overall, all our students showed a great deal of creativity,” said John Duffy, the PreK-12 Science Coordinator who served as a judge during the district-wide Invention Convention in Southington. “They all really pursued a solution to a problem—that is the heart of the Invention Convention.”
For students like fourth graders Kevin Hubert of Thalberg School and Amanda McKee of Plantsville Elementary School, making it to the state-wide level meant sharing their passion and creativity with hundreds of other students and professional judges. Both Kevin and Amanda not only received awards as “recognized inventors,” but they also won special awards for their innovations.
Kevin won the Microsoft Accessibility Award for his invention called, “Udderly Easy,” a pump that can help the elderly and disabled individuals to pour a gallon of milk without spilling.
“I was really surprised and shocked when they called my name,” said Kevin, adding how excited he felt to see the inventions of other students who competed.
“It was very rewarding to see how much work he put into it,” added Kevin’s mom Traci Hubert. “He was so enthusiastic about learning the other children’s inventions.”
Amanda, who received the ESPN Sports Award for her invention called “Infallible Goggles,” also said she felt surprised when the judges announced her as a winner. Amanda modified an original pair of swim goggles with additional straps to keep them from falling during a meet.
“I was really surprised, I didn’t expect that,” said Amanda, a member of the Southington YMCA Sting Rays swim team who created her invention after her goggles fell off during a major meet.
“She really wanted to pursue this, said Amanda’s father, Chris McKee, adding how he was impressed to see his daughter’s invention solve a real-life problem that affected her. “It was an incredible experience.”
Starting in the 1983-1984 school year, the annual CIC gives young inventors in grades K through eight the opportunity to display their inventions to their peers and professional judges in groups of eight to ten. Judges select three inventors from each group as “Recognized Inventors” and distribute awards in different categories. Every year, as many as 10,000 students from Connecticut schools participate in the CIC learning curriculum, said the non-profit’s website.
Looking ahead, both Amanda and Kevin said they would like to participate in the CIC as fifth graders next year, finding ways to enhance their current inventions.
Amanda, a member of the swim team since second grade, said she would like to upgrade her goggles by making the straps more adjustable. Kevin said that he would also like to upgrade his invention by adding an on-off switch to the milk pump.
“I would love to make it motorized,” said Kevin. “I really did enjoy it and I’d like to carry this on in fifth grade.” “I could use my mind to think of things that would not only help me but help other people.”
By Lisa Capobianco