Submitted by Shane Mauldin, McKinney ISD
Eight Evans Middle School AVID students brought their ingenuity and creativity into focus at an engineering competition called Visioneering held at SMU on Saturday, February 16. Faced with a design challenge to engineer a more livable homeless experience in Dallas, the Evans team earned the “Passion for Invention Award” sponsored by Lockheed Martin for their fresh approach and innovative thinking.
The team — comprised of Evans Middle School 8th graders Mark Thompson, Brandon Williams, Isaac Phillips and Zack Westrich; 7th graders Cody Van Wagner and Seth Strollo; and 6th graders Jared Glatz and Kevin Casas — impressed not only event officials, but their teacher as well.
“This group of students was full of creative ideas and demonstrated maturity as they followed the engineering design process,” said Alice Ellenburg, Evans Middle School AVID teacher.
“Not only did they come up with an idea considering all the comforts and conveniences that a home affords, they also took an environmentally friendly approach and included out-of-the box, yet practical, solutions to problems some middle school students might not be aware of,” she said.
Visioneering is an annual, day-long event hosted by the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering at SMU that introduces students to the engineering discipline in a fun and exciting setting where they interact with working engineers, innovators and noted national figures from a variety of industries and businesses. Throughout the day, engineering professionals serve as mentors, guiding students through the design challenge process, from concept to presentation.
According to their website, Visioneering “sits at the crossroads of a day at the mall, an exciting sporting event, a live concert and the science fair and delivers the substance teachers and parents want, with the fun kids crave.”
AVID is a college preparatory program available to students in grades 6 – 12. AVID students are enrolled in a school’s advanced classes, and attend an academic elective class — called AVID –taught within the school day by a trained AVID teacher. The three main components of the AVID system are academic instruction, tutorial support, and motivational and college prep activities.
McKinney ISD boasts a thriving AVID program that includes three AVID National Demonstration School campuses: Evans Middle School, McKinney High School and McKinney North High School.