Shelton's Perry Hill School: Students demonstrate inventive streak

When it comes to inventions, Perry Hill School’s sixth grade enrichment students have proven to be quite creative.
More than 50 inventions were judged Friday, March 15, at the school’s annual Invention Convention — with Lucas Kellogg, with his Cold Clappers, placing first, followed by Alex Baneat (with the Clean Car Cape) and Elena Gasbarro (with her Careful Candle) in second and third, respectively.
Those three students will now represent Perry Hill School at the annual Connecticut Invention Convention on May 4 at the University of Connecticut’s Storrs campus, each with a chance to earn a spot at nationals.

“Our students really work hard on this,” said Perry Hill School enrichment specialist Angela Catone, now in her second overseeing the school’s Invention Convention.
“It’s not about the invention itself, it is about the process, learning the scientific method, learning engineering and the design process,” said Catone. “It’s about showing students valuable skills that they can use later in "the future when they are out in the real world seeking a job.”
Catone said the students first identify a problem faced by family or friends. Students then develop a solution, searching the government’s patents website to narrow their options. Once a project is chosen, Catone said students must stay within a $50 budget to create a prototype, which they then test.
“If it doesn’t work, it’s OK, it’s about the reflection,” said Catone. “How could I have done this better? What different materials could I have used? The students really do have unique ideas, all of them. It’s great to see all of the inventions.”
Principal Lorraine Williams credited the ingenuity of the students as she walked among the inventions displayed throughout the school’s main entrance foyer.
“This is so important,” said Williams about the invention convention. “They go through the research process, create logs, think of problems important to them. Every year, it is so cool to see what they come up with. This has so much value to them.”
The 54 inventions were judged by Michele Piccolo, retired enrichment teacher Faylynn Haight; the district supervisor of literacy, assessment and professional learning, Victoria White; district interim supervisor of STEM teaching and learning, Gavriela Ziu-Pires; and Mohegan School fourth grade teacher Patrick Sullivan.
Perry Hill School Invention Convention honorable mention winners were Charles Pereira (The RunAway), Mateus Puttock (Aim, Shoot, Repeat), Gracie Roberts (The Simple String Fixer), Sathwika Nadella (Handy Holder), Ella Welsh (Klean Kicks) and Shane Colligan (The Gate Mate).
“It is a privilege to witness the growth of our students as they present their inventions,” said Ziu-Pires. “This milestone in their journey of lifelong learning is evidence of persistency, critical and flexible thinking, as well as an application of learning to find solutions.
“For generations we have improved our existence through innovation,” added Ziu-Pires. “In Shelton, we as educators believe in providing our students experiences that spark passions, as well as the right tools to innovate with empathy and creativity.”