Two teams from Timothy Edwards in Connecticut's top 10 for Ecybermission Competition

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., Jun. 20, 2013
(L-r): Lindsey Cartier, Sarah Nicholas and Austine Lentini created a website that young people struggling with mental illness could use as a resource to find help. Photo courtesy of David Anderson. - Contributed Photo

The 2012-2013 Ecybermission Competition asked students to propose solutions to the problems they witness in their local community. Teams from across the country, including six teams from Timothy Edwards Middle School in South Windsor, submitted their proposals via the internet. Two of these teams were named among the top 10 teams from Connecticut.

The 24 Timothy Edwards students who participated were part of the Excel program, the school's gifted and talented program. Excel coordinator David Anderson coached the six teams. “Students are asked to identify local problem issues within their community and work, through extensive research and interviewing people, and come up with an action plan on how to come up with their answer to that problem,” said Anderson.

The Ecybermission Competition is part of a national initiative to incorporate STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - into the classroom. Ecybermission is sponsored by the U.S. Army, as part of the Army Educational Outreach Program. Teams could select from seven “missions” to address in their project: alternative sources of energy; environment; food, health and fitness; forces and motion; national security and safety; robotics and technology.

The two Timothy Edwards teams to place in the Connecticut top 10 were composed of Greg Morneault, Enuma Mokel, Nate Carr and Kearra Sarin, and Lindsey Cartier, Sarah Nicholas and Austine Lentini.

For their project, Morneault, Mokel, Carr and Sarin examined building safety, a topic about which every school in Connecticut is concerned. “They priced doors that lock from the inside, bullet-proof glass, camera security equipment, and made a proposal,” said Anderson.

Cartier, Nicholas and Lentini created a website that provides a resource for young people who are struggling with mental health disorders, or who are concerned for a friend. “They created a phenomenal website which allowed middle school students to research possible mental health concerns,” said Anderson. The site allows teens to learn about mental disorders, take psychological tests, and search for mental health professionals in the South Windsor area. “It was well-researched, put together in a very user-friendly package, and geared towards school students.”

Many of the students Anderson coached are veterans of Connecticut History Day, a five-month-long research project, and Future Problem Solving Program, which challenges students to use their research skills to solve problems in 20 years and beyond. “Find a challenge, do your research, verify it, come up with your proposal, how you're going to fund it, who might oppose it, who might resist it, who are your supporters, and put it all into one package,” said Anderson. “It allows them to take their [past research experience] to the next level. It's not just book learning; here they are applying it in real life.”

Last year, close to 90 teams from Connecticut participated in the Ecybermission Competition. Anderson considers having two teams from Timothy Edwards placing in the top 10 this year “quite the accomplishment.”

“I couldn't be any happier. I know that all the groups worked well, and certainly they deserve the recognition,” he said.

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