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Ramsay students take first place in Westmoreland STEM competition

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

A team of students from the Ramsay Elementary School in Mt. Pleasant brought home a first-place award in the Westmoreland IU STEM design competition.

Fifth-grade science and social studies teacher Kristy Frohliger said this is the first year the school has participated.

At the beginning of January, Frohliger chose four students to make up the team.

“They had to sign a paper, a contract,” Frohliger said of the students who agreed to give up their recess periods to work on the project. “They worked very hard for this.”

The STEM Design Competition called for the students to design and build a environmentally friendly “people mover” out of K'NEX pieces, which are plastic building pieces that interlock and piece together.

The model had to maneuver through an obstacle course, also designed by the students.

The team designed blueprints, wrote an essay, answered questions and did a two-minute presentation in front of a panel of three judges for the competition held St. Vincent College in Latrobe.

“I really liked everything about the project,” team member Dakota Cook, 11, said. “I thought it was really cool.”

“I liked going to the competition and meeting new people,” team member Regan Shroyer said. “I also really liked us working together.”

With the regional win, one in which the team beat out other fourth- and fifth-grade teams from all over the county, the team from Ramsay now moves on to the state competitions that will be held May 2 in Harrisburg.

The Ramsay students now will be working further with their design, honing parts and working out kinks that they had in their original design and format.

“They gave the students their scores so they could see where they needed to improve and what areas they needed to work on,” Frohliger said of the judges. “They have a few little adjustments that they would like to work out.”

Team members will again be working through their recess periods in preparation for the big showing in Harrisburg.

“I'm looking forward to getting to meet kids from all over the state,” Shroyer said.

Frohliger said the students hard work paid off.

“These students worked so hard. They were so dedicated. I can't say how proud I am of all of them,” Frohliger said. “This is such an incredible opportunity for them and one that they really deserve.”

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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