RALEIGH – State transportation officials took time Thursday morning to salute a group of Wake County students who developed an innovative, award-winning device intended to make school bus stops safer.
Members of Debbie Schelin’s sixth-grade science class from Holly Grove Middle School in Holly Springs were invited to the N.C. Board of Transportation meeting to be recognized by Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon, Board Chairman Mike Fox and fellow board members and transportation officials.
“Safety is a key part of our mission here at NCDOT, and for a group of students this young to come up with an innovative device with the potential to save lives is incredible,” Fox said.
After witnessing a classmate nearly being hit by a car at a bus stop, the students were motivated to develop a tool that alerts drivers and pedestrians near a bus stop that a bus is approaching. A device inside the bus communicates to a solar-powered sign that signals when the bus is within 400 feet and again at the 30-foot mark.
The class sought guidance in January from NCDOT Division 5 District Engineer John Sandor, who introduced the students at the board meeting.
“Right out of the gate, I could tell they had a great concept in place,” Sandor said. “They were very educated already in the transportation arena. I was fortunate to be able to help them refine their vision into something that could be approved for real use.”
The students submitted the device into the national Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest and won the top award – $110,000 worth of technology for their school. They hope to implement several of these signs throughout the Wake school district in the near future.
Nineteen students participated in the project: Simi Adetunji, Jasper Cekander, Jaycee Baker, James Davis, Kaley Davis, Talyn Fitzpatrick, Ashelyn Gilbert, Destiny Hamilton, Boston Harol, Tatiana Hernandez, Evan Kruger, Bella Lindsay, Caroline Parker, Austin Perlette, Aaron Peterson, Mikaela Pohlmeier, Deija Reed, Reanna Robertson and Conrad Szady.