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Upper St. Clair High School students win aerospace honors

| Thursday, May 5, 2011, 12:00 p.m.

The Ouroboros team from Upper St. Clair High School won the title of Pete Conrad Scholars in Aerospace on Sunday at the Conrad Foundation's 2011 Innovation Summit in Silicon Valley.

The Ouroboros team won for their development and design of the Perpetual Harvest Space Nutrition System that takes organic waste created during long-duration space flight and creates compost that is then used to grow fresh foods. It also serves as an air filter for human habitation.

In addition to a $5,000 Next Step Grant to continue their product development, along with a one-year membership in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, team members also receive a one-year membership to the Scientific Research Society , and team coaches are awarded a $500 stipend via the AIAA Coaches Award.

The members of Team Ouroboros are Matthew Vernacchia, Brent Heard, Avisha Shah, Catherine Groschner and Yudi Chen.

"This national recognition for our students highlights their academic excellence, innovation and incredible work ethic. Their coach, Patricia Palazzolo, does a phenomenal job of providing life-changing experiences for her students," Dr. Sharon Suritsky, acting assistant to the superintendent for curriculum and instruction/supervisor of special education, said in a prepared statement.

The annual program encourages high school students from across the country to solve the challenges of the 21st century by creating breakthrough technologies using science, technology, engineering and math knowledge and skills.

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