Wake Ed

Knightdale High, Wake STEM Early College win innovation awards

From left, Johnny Wood of Dewberry Engineers, a mentor with the Students Discover Academy at Knightdale High School of Collaborative Design, goes over an electrical diagram with ninth-grader Chris Yanez, 14, in the school's library on March 23, 2016. Teams from Knightdale High and Wake STEM Early College won awards at the 2016 NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning annual Innovation Challenge.
From left, Johnny Wood of Dewberry Engineers, a mentor with the Students Discover Academy at Knightdale High School of Collaborative Design, goes over an electrical diagram with ninth-grader Chris Yanez, 14, in the school's library on March 23, 2016. Teams from Knightdale High and Wake STEM Early College won awards at the 2016 NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning annual Innovation Challenge. mgoad@newsobserver.com

Two Wake County high schools were recognized Monday for winning awards at the NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning annual Innovation Challenge.

A team from Knightdale High School won the sustainability category for its Project Cycle proposal. A team from the Wake STEM Early College in Raleigh won the health and wellness category for its LIFE (Loving and Incorporating Food and Exercise) fest proposal.

Both teams will receive a $1,500 cash prize from Cisco, the contest sponsor, that can be used to implement their proposals or put towards further innovation-focused projects.

Organizers said the challenge was open to all NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning network schools and state Department of Public Instruction recognized STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) schools.

Teams made up of students, educators and industry professionals had to come up with a practical product to impact a problem related to one of the three contest themes. The projects were reviewed based on criteria such as whether there was an innovative and realistic solution, the level of positive impact and the potential for sustainability

“This is a learning opportunity in its purest form,” said Tony Habit, president of NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning, in the press release. “Students developed multiple skill sets, while teachers and industry have gained a greater understanding and appreciation for the power of partnership and work based learning.”

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