A group of six Columbia High School students invented a device, through extracurricular work with local afterschool program Gorge MakerSpace, that helps a third-grade student with a speech disorder communicate in the classroom. The invention scored the group first place May 16 at Project Invent’s Demo Day, an annual convention where student groups across the country pitch original invention ideas to industry leaders and compete for funding to further invest in their creation.

The group, composed of juniors Dylan Durand, Madison Swanson, CC Ahrens, Cin Ahrens, Wyatt Sheaves, and sophomore Henry Kirkwood, won the grand prize of $1,000 for further development of their invention. The students introduced their device in a five-minute presentation to panelists and answered questions about their design process.

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