Bloomfield High School Students Win Big in Global Stem Competition

NBC Universal, Inc.

A team of Bloomfield High School students is being recognized for their innovative thinking. Their project was to create better mobility in under-served communities.

It's a part of the "Made to Move Communities" academic challenge hosted by Connecticut-based, Otis Elevator Company.

At least 14 teams from several countries participated in the STEM-related academic match.

Brittany and Brianna Washington, Joshua Brown, Lydia Nyarko, and ReAnna Barclay are all seniors and worked together to win the regional competition against teams from Brazil and California.

The team was tasked with creating ideas to improve the lives of those who have mobility challenges. Their proposals included: UV lighting to disinfect groceries, conveyor belts for better curbside pickup, and drones for at-home deliveries.

"I think about the group skills, and how we were able to contribute to the presentation," said Brianna Washington.

"We knew we were capable to do great things, but together we were able to do greater things," said Joshua Brown.

During the eight-week program, the team paired up with Otis mentors and received help from volunteers to put together their plans.

"The Otis volunteers provided guidance through these challenges in the form of real-world examples and personal experiences that we've all had at Otis," said Sarah Cosic, a role engineer with Otis. "We were really happy and I think the students really benefit from the program," said Alecia Hogan, associate director of CSR & executive events at Otis.

Jesse White is a principal at Bloomfield High School and believes the program provides several benefits for the students.

"There's some things that these engineers have gone through and been able to do or experience that our students have not yet," said White. "I believe that when students see someone that looks like them in a particular, then they know I can strive for that."

The students told NBC Connecticut they are still shocked about the win.

"It just blew our minds that we were able to do it," said ReAnna Barclay. "We were able to compete against people in California, Brazil and I don't think we went into it thinking we could win but we knew we tried our hardest."

While the team are still enjoying on their first place win, they're also focusing on the lessons they picked up along the way.

"I know to keep improving on my abilities and as a team to improve our abilities for the project," said Brittany Washington. "We all had to take a step back and respect every single person's opinion and learn how to work with them," said Lydia Nyarko.

Bloomfield High School along with the district said they are working to develop more STEM-related courses for those interested in the career path. School leaders are also looking to continue working with Otis in the future.

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