By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — CAMANCHE — Four young entrepreneurs from Camanche Middle School have been selected to join an elite group of students participating in the 2014 State Invent Iowa Competition in Iowa City.
Three third-graders and one fourth-grader on Sheryl Kennedy’s Invent Iowa Competition team have received the distinguishing honor, but this year is not the first time Kennedy’s team has found success in the competition.
In the past five years, 12 student inventors from Camanche Elementary School have made it to the state competition, beating out hundreds of challengers across the state. In addition, four of those students made it to the final scholarship round and two took home a $500 scholarship.
“The competition is open to students in grades 3 to 12 so it is quite an accomplishment for third or fourth graders to even qualify for the scholarship round, let alone win,” Kennedy said. “And when only 15 percent of students advance to the state level, it’s pretty amazing to have so many from one school.”
Just because their predecessors have paved the way for them, doesn’t mean Kennedy’s 2014 team is immune to the nerves aligned with the state competition.
Although third-grader Zane Witt said he is excited to move on to the next round, he thinks the tension will get the best of him when the pivotal moment arrives.
“I’ll probably be more nervous than excited, because they might not like my invention,” Witt said.
Fortunately, says Kennedy and her students, they won’t be required to showcase their homemade inventions in front of a group of judges as they were in the first round.
Instead, they are asked to create a 2 to 3 minute informational video, similar to a television commercial, that demonstrates their product to judges based in Iowa City.
All four students are happy they don’t have to meet their critics face-to-face, but they are still concerned with the details of their videos.
“It was really exciting to find out we were moving on,” fourth-grader Chealsa Anderson said. “But then I got really nervous because we have to make a video about our invention.”
According to competition guidelines, the students are encouraged to incorporate music and editing techniques in their videos to mirror the stylings of television commercials.
Kennedy plans to inspire her students to stretch their imaginations when creating their videos so their inventions can stand out among all the state-wide competitors they will face in the Iowa City judgment.
“The judges will be seeing 38 videos and we don’t know what order they will be viewed in,” Kennedy said. “So we want to make ours exciting and interesting so they stand out.”
If the Camanche Elementary students can advance in the state competition, they will move on to the final round where they will face off against approximately 18 students for the chance to win a $500 scholarship to either the University of Iowa or Iowa State University.