On April 11th, 77 students from Orange County High School, Prospect Heights Middle School, The Oaks Academy, and Riverbend High School participated in the 2nd Annual OC STEM Invitational. The event, created by OCHS science teachers Anna Burkett and Emily Dwight, was designed to challenge students’ problem-solving skills. Students worked in teams of 3 or 4 to complete challenges relating to the environment, including building trawlers to pick up trash out of a waterway, creating water turbines to generate electricity from a water source, designing and building riparian buffers to absorb and clean water, and determining water quality using probeware.

This event was free for students thanks to sponsorships from Friends of the Rappahannock, Green Applications, Beacon Cloud Solutions, WINs, Piedmont Environmental Council, and Mason Insurance Agency. Participants were also given T-shirts, and students were able to earn door prize tickets throughout the event for the chance to win outdoor themed door prizes ranging from hammocks to trail cameras. The top teams for each challenge were awarded medallions designed by the OCHS manufacturing classes under the guidance of teacher Karen Boone.