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Hall students showcase ideas at STEM competition
Contestants wow judges with innovations
Kristen Wedegis, 16, browses through her travel and tourism project on her laptop Wednesday morning during the Hall County School technology fair at the Hall County Community Center.

Alex Little, a 15-year-old freshman at North Hall High School, has a knack for coming up with award-winning projects.

“The videogame was a piano, a tutorial to type on the piano, so you use the keyboard and it helps you play certain songs,” Little said Wednesday at the Hall County Community and Technology Center where a two-day science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition was wrapping up.

The idea was good enough to take second place in a statewide competition two years ago when he was in middle school.

“I play the piano,” Little added. “It’s what motivated me to do the video. I realized that you can create certain notes in the software. So I designed a game where you can play piano and teach yourself.”

Elementary and middle school students showcased their ideas Tuesday. All in all, judges looked at 250 entries from grades three to 12, said Michele Hood, one of the event coordinators.

“The best from each school are being judged,” Hood said. “Seventy categories of winners will go to the state competition.”

Students working individually or in tandem presented their projects to judges. Recognition is awarded to the top three finishers.

Tess Mosley sand Graham Schneider of Chestatee High School teamed up to make a unit circle project for math.

“It helps you memorize sine, cosine and tangent of angles,” Mosley said.

They used a train on a track to make it interactive and fun to show.

Kristen Wedegis said her project used Microsoft Publisher to brochure places of interest in Hong Kong.

“I’m half Chinese and half American and I’ve gone there 12 different times,” the Chestatee High student said. “I know a good bit about Hong Kong. It was fun to place my favorite parts of Hong Kong in a brochure form. All of the photographs were taken by me.”

For their project, Allan Cupps and Sean Preston collaborated on a light detector device that registers a range of lights as it picks up sound.

“We thought it would be fun to do, challenging, but also interesting,” Preston said. “It converts the sound into a visual light.”

Cupps said the device starts with a base light that goes down the louder the sound gets.

“It would change color depending on the loudness of the noise,” Cupps said.

“Blue is normal sound and red is the loudest it can handle,” Preston added.

Teachers said they were impressed with the ideas students brought to the competition.

“They don’t sign up for this if they don’t have the passion for it,” said Kyle Frederick, who teaches engineering at North Hall H.S.

Harmon Tison, who teaches engineering at Flowery Branch, said the school district has invested in state-of-the-art technology to help promote STEM.

The statewide STEM competition will be held in Macon on March 11.