BRYANT POND — The freshmen of Telstar Regional High School have big ideas for how to make the world a better place.
On Friday at the 4-H Camp and Learning Center, they presented their ideas to a panel of judges — an event known as the Shark Tank presentations.
The presentations were part of their energy unit in the 4-H Telstar Freshman Academy, a program that encourages hands-on learning, and gets the students out of the classroom for real-world learning.
The young innovators were asked to research a global problem, choose a location and come up with a solution to that problem. They made models, posters, slide-show presentations and websites to demonstrate their ideas.
“They’re pretty creative and pretty clever,” high school humanities teacher Doug Bennett said.
Kaitlyn Buck, Madisyn Buck, Autumn Harrison and Shelby Thorman presented their idea for an adaptable shoe called KAMS made of recycled materials.
The group focused on Ghana, Africa, where children walk miles to school in unsanitary conditions. Because of the mass poverty in the area, many people can’t afford shoes, so the four inventors made KAMS soles layered, with each layer being a bigger size. When the shoe becomes too small, another layer can be peeled away.
Robyn Clark, Livia Doucette, Myla Hudson, Rachael Miller and Matt Rice created savesudan.org, a nonprofit website with links to donate and lists of items that can be sent in care packages to the Sudanese, who have been fighting a civil war since 2013.
Because of the war, aid groups have been expelled from the area and fresh water and food are hard to come by. The care packages the group made, which the students said would be air-dropped, were tie-dye fabric bags that could be used as shirts once the items were removed.
“We can change the situation one person at a time,” Doucette said.
Clean water for all was a clear concern for Logan Mason, Asa Milot, Mason Thompson, Austin Westleigh and Ava Doucette, who designed a water-filtration system for the people of Madagascar.
After educating the judges on the situation in Madagascar, such as that almost half of the island’s population does not have access to clean water, the students demonstrated how their filtration system works.
They proposed a hand-dug well, which they said is significantly cheaper than a drilled well. The well would have a cover and a hand pump. The act of pumping would force the water through turbines connected to a battery that powers a light. In addition to powering the light, the water would be filtered using sand and charcoal, both easily accessible materials in Madagascar.
Clean air was also a concern. Robert Barnard, Eric Chapman, Jewel Smith and Jacob Lyman created the Carulite 300 Catalyst, a muffler with a little extra something inside.
The group modified a fireman’s oxygen mask to handle increased air pressure, and incorporated it inside the muffler, so the exhaust gets purified twice.
Chapman said the muffler creates a 50 percent reduction in emissions, compared to the 20 percent reduction created by a traditional catalytic converter.
“If people use this product, it’s helping to stop emissions without going out of your way,” Chapman said.
Kelly Scott examines the KAMS shoe model created by a group of Telstar freshmen while Darcy Lambert looks on, at the Shark Tank Panel presentations at the 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Bryant Pond on Friday. (Liz Marquis/Sun Journal)
Telstar freshman Julia Putnam demonstrates the drone model made by her group during the Shark Tank presentations on Friday at the 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Bryant Pond. (Liz Marquis/Sun Journal)
Telstar freshmen Eric Chapman, left, and Robert Barnard, right, explain their muffler invention to a panel of judges at the Shark Tank presentations on Friday at the 4-H Camp and Learning Center in Bryant Pond. (Liz Marquis/Sun Journal)