Maumelle’s May, Westfall innovate to top honor

A cardboard prototype of the Self-Sanitizing Door Handle that won top honors for Maumelle High School’s Parker May and Lauren Westfall in the Innovation Challenge sponsored by the Pulaski County Special School District and the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.

In the first-ever Innovation Challenge, a pair of Maumelle High School students claimed the top honor, it was announced last week.

The students are:

  • Parker May

  • Lauren Westfall 

And their winning innovation was a “Self-Sanitizing Door Handle.”

May and Westfall were two of more than 400 students from across the Pulaski County Special School District that competed in the Innovation Challenge, which was done in partnership with the school district and the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.

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The students, from 11 schools in the district, submitted 136 projects in the Challenge that was modeled on a traditional science fair but was conducted virtually due to the ongoing pandemic.

Students also got virtual training in things like Computer Aided Design, vector design, branding design, prototyping, and basic construction skills along with virtual meetups with experts in those areas.

May and Westfall were the grand prize winners, along with the overall first place award, the Innovation Ignitor Award.

Their teacher was Sherri Keesee and the project was described as: “Imagine if your business's door handles automatically were sanitized every 30 minutes on their own, without needing an employee to clean them. That's the Self-Sanitizing Door Handle.”

Judges’ said, “This product was well thought out and students even created a working prototype and did testing to see how well it sanitized surfaces. We can't wait to see every business with Self-Sanitizing Door Handles.”

May and Westfall will be awarded:

  • A prototype of their product

  • A customized t-shirt of their new brand

  • One-on-one consultation in entrepreneurship

  • 10 hours of private instruction from the Innovation Hub. 

It was a good competition for Maumelle as Nathan Davenport and Christian Gaddy received the third place award for their Remote Control Trash Can. Keesee was their teacher as well.

The project was a “robotic trash can made for disabled people who can’t move around their homes easily.”

A remote control trash can designed by Maumelle High School’s Nathan Davenport and Christian Gaddy.

Other honorees will receive:  Innovation Challenge winner t-shirts, laser-cut certificates of achievement, and a package of virtual learning and group consultation.

Overall 2nd place: Innovation Changemaker Award 

  • Squeezy’z 

  • Brogan Fountain, Cruz Brackeen, Michael Devere, Khloe Brown, and Hannah Twitty 

  • Baker Elementary 

  • Teacher: Susan Fountain 

  • Judges called this idea “Brilliant” and voted it the most creative presentation. Squeezy’s is an all-in-one self-pasting travel toothbrush. 

Overall 4th place: Innovation Futurist Award 

  • Jewelry Buddy: a Traveling Jewelry Container 

  • Charvi Vyas and Scarlett Williams 

  • Robinson Elementary 

  • Teacher: Claudia Farmer 

  • The Jewelry Buddy is a travel jewelry container, made from recycled materials, to keep jewelry from getting tangled while travelling. 

Overall 5th place: Innovation Solver Award 

  • Online Organizer 

  • Kyndal Browning and Ava Townsend 

  • Sylvan Hills Elementary 

  • Teacher: Mrs. Stephanie Belin 

The Online Organizer is an organizer that attaches to a laptop for virtual students and workers to keep paper and pencil with their laptop. 

Best 3rd Grade Project: Young Innovator Award 

  • Seed Dropper 3000 

  • Kanyon Fenwick, Amirah Smith, Elijah Reed, Ethan Rodriquez 

  • Oakbrooke Elementary 

  • Teacher: Jarrod Haymond, Tasha Middaugh 

  • Their idea is for an airplane shaped drone that drops wildflower seeds to help pollinators like Bees. They designed their idea with TinkerCAD.