Isle students meet challenge to improve community
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. » A drug-rehabilitation center for teenagers in a Hawaii community and a submarine moored on the north bank of the Arkansas are among the projects taken on by more than 1,700 students from six states gathered here last week.
They are competing for prizes in a program that rewards them for using technology as a way to better their communities.
The Environmental and Spatial Technology Initiative, which hosted the three-day conference, gives students a chance to partner with business and government to improve their communities, said Edward Darbonne, the organization president.
By engaging students in an educational environment steeped in emerging technologies and focused on self-direction and community service, students can achieve more and become lifelong learners and problem solvers, Darbonne said.
Huey Johnson, a senior from Kihei High School, manned his booth and answered questions about projects he and his team members have been working on, including a computer-animated model of a teen drug-rehabilitation center.
"The only teen rehab center we had closed; a friend suggested this project and I came up with the design," he said. "Research shows that family intervention and support helps teens recover from addictive diseases. The closest rehab facility is in Kauai ... so it would be more cost-effective for families who wouldn't have to fly to visit."
Johnson said he met with the Maui mayor about making the project a reality.
"He's very interested and he discussed allocating land for the project," Johnson said.
Barry Graf, a 13-year-old student at North Heights Junior High School in Texarkana, designed a virtual reality tour of the USS Razorback submarine, which won first place in the national virtual reality competition. The Awards of Excellence, based on standards such as student growth, community service, collaboration, and the innovative and successful use of technology, went to Kekaulike High School in Makawao, Maui; Monticello High School; and Eureka Springs High School.
Horace Mann Science Magnet Middle School in the Little Rock School District won the Founder's Award, the top award given during the conference.