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Owensville students' school security solution could be worth $100K

Owensville students' school security solution could be worth $100K

March 11th, 2019 by Phillip Sitter in Local News

Owensville High School students presented on the national stage a school security idea that earned the school $100,000 in Samsung technology and classroom resources. The screenshot above, taken from the video the students prepared for the competition, shows the "one-piece intruder safety lock" they designed. (Credit: Samsung U.S. Newsroom, youtu.be/eQ3bkoOzrCY)

OWENSVILLE, Mo. -- Owensville High School students will soon present on the national stage a school security idea that could earn the school up to $100,000 in Samsung technology and classroom resources.

Owensville is one of 10 finalist schools in Samsung's national "Solve for Tomorrow" competition, in which public school students in grades 6-12 have the chance to "build leadership skills, apply their knowledge of STEM and make an impact on their community while competing to win big," according to the competition's website.

Owensville High School Assistant Principal Kris Altemeyer said this was the first time the school has ever entered the contest.

Groups of students in the high school's STEM 3 class, taught by Kevin Lay, came up with different projects — including a large, backlit sign for the school's exterior and a charging table for electronic devices — Altemeyer said.

What will be pitched to a panel of judges in New York City in April, though, is a "one-piece intruder safety lock," as it's called in a video on the competition website in which the Owensville students describe their project.

Vote Online

Public voting on a "Community Choice" winner is open online through 11:59 p.m. March 27. If Owensville wins the popular vote, the school will win an additional $10,000 worth of technology.

Project lead Paige Tayloe opens the video — walking down a school hallway with fellow students Jonah Hoffman, the project's feasibility specialist, and Trey Fisher, mechanical analyst — by citing recent school shootings where students were hurt or killed and that many shootings happened in towns and cities with populations of less than 50,000 people.

"We decided that we could make a change, that we could make a difference, something that will be able to provide us with those few precious moments in the event of an intruder," Hoffman says.

"Our project is meant to give students and teachers more time in case of an emergency — giving students and teachers more control of a situation. We believe our product can help not just in our hometown, but all across the nation," Fisher says.

The students describe how they created a prototype of their safety lock with a 3-D printer, then redesigned it to improve its strength and manufacturing efficiency. The first operating prototype is made of steel and aluminum.

The seven-piece door security system — two brackets and one L-shaped wedge that would probably fit in someone's hand, along with two bolts and two screws — can be easily installed and used.

One bracket attaches to a door and the other to the door frame — both on the inside of a room — then someone can quickly grab the wedge that hangs on the door frame and slide it into the grooves of the two brackets, creating a metal arch that holds the door closed to the frame.

Owensville Police Department Officer Brenn Finley explains in the video that the device prevents someone from gaining access to a room even if they have broken the lock on a door.

Of 10 finalist schools, judges in New York will select three as national winners that will receive a $100,000 prize package and attend a final event in Washington, D.C.

Owensville already is entitled to at least a $50,000 prize package just for being one of the 10 finalists, Altemeyer said. Being selected in New York would add another $50,000 worth of Samsung technology.

Public voting on a "Community Choice" winner is open online through 11:59 p.m. March 27. If Owensville wins the popular vote, the school will win an additional $10,000 worth of technology.

More information on the contest — as well as the video on Owensville's project and for the nine other finalist schools — is available at samsung.com/us/solvefortomorrow/.

Altemeyer said Owensville High School's STEM 3 class falls within a larger science, technology, engineering, arts and math program — "something we were fortunate enough to start" with a bond issue in 2015 that funded a STEAM lab with 3-D printers.

The school district — Gasconade County R-2 — plans to use the students' intruder security device on its doors, and the students behind it have been in discussions about mass production, he added.

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