Brains bring bank for Tonganoxie High School
Tonganoxie High School has $15,000 to use towards enhancing its science, technology, engineering and math departments.
THS was a big winner Nov. 30 at Union Station in Kansas City, Mo., at the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains award ceremony.
Tonganoxie was one of the top 20 finalists invited to the extravagant ceremony.
Each of the teams were paraded in like an Olympic opening ceremony.
It then was time for the moment of truth — the announcement of the top five teams. All of the top 20 finalists earned grants for their schools, but the top five would be the big winners.
THS placed fourth with its City of Lights exhibit, which netted the $15,000 grant. Excited Tonganoxie High students headed to the Union Station stage for their award.
Fifth place and a $10,000 grant went to Alexander Doniphan Elementary School in Liberty, Mo., for Math Mania.
Olathe East High School took third with “The Magic of Magnets” and earned $20,000, while Cordill-Mason Elementary School in Blue Springs, Mo., won $25,000 for its second-place “Magical Me.”
And first place, for “Big Brain Theory,” went to the Cair Focus Program in the Grandview, Mo., school district. That school won a $50,000 grant. In addition, an $1 million exhibit replicating the Cair Focus project will be built at Science City at Union Station.
THS teachers who served as team leaders were Kirsten Rhoads and Jayme Breault.
This year’s team members were Jared Bothwell, Adrian Cullen, Adam DeMAranville, Alexander Falk, Ahren Gann, Alan Hinds, Payton Lynn, Blake Phillips, Etahn Sandburg, Sierra Staatz, Alexander Tucker, Xavier Wenger and Jacob Widhalm.
Of 20 finalists invited to the ceremony, 13 were Missouri schools and seven Kansas schools. Tonganoxie and Eudora high schools were the smallest schools on the Kansas side to be finalists.
Participation in the competition hit an all-time high this year, including a nearly 60 percent increase from 2016. There were 820 submissions from 250 schools that spanned 55 school districts. A total of 7,000 students participated.
Judges, comprised of STEM professionals from Burns & McDonnell and Science City, ranked entries according to specific criteria, ranging from creativity and inspiration to how interactive and engaging the exhibit could be with visitors.
Online voting this past week helped in the final step of determining the top teams.
Interim USD 464 Superintendent Tonya Phillips said The students and teachers have been meeting to discuss how to utilize the grant money.
They are putting together a proposal to use the $15,000 to develop a new STEM class at THS. Funds would be used to pay for curriculum and equipment, according to Phillips.
Once the students and teachers have their plan, they will present it to the curriculum committee and the school board.