WEST ALEXANDRIA — On May 21, Twin Valley South Elementary students Joslynn Beneke and Lily Bailey will display and demonstrate homemade inventions in competition with students from across the U.S. at the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneur Expo. The invitation-only event is held at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C., and celebrates K-12 inventors and entrepreneurs.
“Our dog likes to wander a lot,” said Beneke, “and we were building a row of fenceposts to keep her in. I was the person who had to use the shovel, and every time they stopped, I had to scrape more dirt away that had fallen back in. My arms were really sore after that.”
Beneke invented the Dirt Shield, a device which keeps dirt from falling back into holes during the digging process, after a complex series of attempts originating with quick, temporary tools like Play-Doh and a plastic auger.
Bailey created the Bathroom Pocket.
“At Walmart one time,” she explained, “I almost dropped my iPod in the toilet. that made me really mad…”
Moldable plastic and a heating gun came to the rescue, and with a little wood and metal, she had a device in which to place her valuables while using public restrooms.
“I’m very, very proud,” said Twin Valley South Elementary Principal Patti Holly. “When they went to the regional competition, I knew they’d win, and they did. They presented their inventions to me and they were confident and they spoke beautifully.”
At the southwest Ohio regional finals in Wilberforce on April 23, both students were awarded superior honors and are among fewer than 50 selected from 23,000 Ohio students to move forward to the national level. Beneke won a $250 college scholarship and Bailey won a $50 Amazon gift card.
“It’s a new program,” Holly said, “and we hope next year more students will participate and it becomes permanent at our school. It’s a great opportunity for public speaking and using their minds for scientific development.”
Reach Duante Beddingfield at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @duanteb_RH.