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Engineering team invited to national contest in D.C.
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FLOWERY BRANCH — A Flowery Branch High School engineering team has been named as one of six national finalists in the Junior Engineering Technical Society’s National Engineering Design Challenge set for Feb. 14-16 in Washington, D.C.

Students Matt Blaisdell, James DeGrood and Joshua Gober and their coach, Ben Wagner of the school’s math department, have been invited to give a 15-minute oral report to a panel of judges at the challenge.

The group’s transportation costs, registration fees and hotel accommodations are covered by the event.

The technical society started the competition to foster interest in engineering among high school students.

Some 260 teams began the competition, with that number narrowed to 100 and then six.

Teams in this year’s contest were challenged to design a device that people with disabilities can use to succeed in the workplace and in their lives.

Flowery Branch designed the "High Roller," which consists of fixed-arm bars, an 11-inch air-shock cylinder and fixed wheelie bars built from a standard wheelchair that had been donated by Citizen’s Pharmacy in Flowery Branch.

The estimated cost for the device was $270.

To view the students’ project online, visit and click on "The High Roller" under the National Engineering Design Challenge heading.

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