Therrell-STEMS Students Shine at The GAEA Construction Competition

Elvon Gomes, a Senior at Therrell HS, brainstorms with his team.

Several students from Therrell High School- STEMS recently participated in a student conference and construction competition sponsored by the Greater Atlanta Economic Alliance.

The alliance is an outreach that increases the business capacity of small, female and minority-owned construction firms. Competitors from various high schools throughout Atlanta were split into teams that consisted of at least one student from each school.

Students work to construct a bridge, using only newspaper and scotch tape.

“We wanted to offer the students something different this year,” explained Pamela Calhoun, a member of the supplier diversity team at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. “This is the first year that we offered three different workshops and a competition to the students.”

Each team was given a construction task to complete in under one hour, while communicating and working effectively with teammates from other schools.  Teams constructed newspaper bridges, rubber band cars, and an hidden alarm with limited resources by following detailed instructions and collaborating with their peers.

“It was a good sense of creativity and competitiveness,” said Jeremi Smith, a participant in the competition and a Senior at Therrell High School. “Working on the team was fun, it was a good experience, and it helped me see how it would be to work on a team with co-workers in the future.”

Throughout the competition students were faced with several real-world challenges and obstacles.

Students cut wire as they prepare to create an hidden alarm system.

“One of the things that I really loved was watching each of the teams observe their materials, brainstorm, and look at the challenges ahead before they constructed their project,” Calhoun said.

Following the competition, the students attended a luncheon and awards ceremony, where they were recognized for their participation.

“This gave them an opportunity to be recognized for their interests,” Calhoun explained. “I know that they shine in their schools, but we wanted to make it public so everyone else can see the good work that comes out of Atlanta Public Schools.”

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