At the annual Invention Convention on Tuesday afternoon, students from elementary schools throughout the county exhibited their creative solutions to common problems, with a South Effingham Elementary first grader winning grand champion.
Owen Murphy, 7, was the first grand champion to win from the Rube Goldberg category, which demands inordinate orchestration to accomplish a simple task — in this case, turning on a light.
Murphy’s toys, blocks and CD cases were placed with wild intention on a wooden table painted to resemble a football field for his project dubbed “Football Frenzy.”
“What we did is we just took a bunch of toys from our playroom and put them on the dining room table and just started from there, so. The kid’s crazy about the Packers, a huge Green Bay Packers fan. So he wanted to do something with kicking a football,” said Jim Murphy, Owen’s father.
The project worked perfectly every time the younger Murphy demonstrated it, and it won him two trophies that, stacked up, are taller than he is.
A bit bashful about the win, he said he was surprised he won because he didn’t hear his named called at first.
“It was pretty cool,” he said.
Owen’s parents said that they hope he learns that doing a good job takes time.
“I think the kids are learning that if you work hard it pans out,” said Owen’s mother Candace Murphy.
Cathleen Chance, 10, won in the Health and Safety category for an invention she calls “Access to My Heart.” She is a fifth grader at SEES and last year, Chance and her family learned that she has a rare form of ovary cancer called dysgerminama. She receives her chemotherapy treatment through a chest port, akin to an IV.
“When I go to the clinic I either have to stretch out my collar or take off my shirt, and it’s really uncomfortable at the age of 10,” she said.
With her invention, a piece of decorative fabric is attached over a hole in a patient’s shirt with Velcro, making it easy and comfortable for both doctors and patients. Her parents, Matthew and Christina Chance, were bursting with pride and said that the Access to My Heart works great.
Lynn Miller, a SEES first grade teacher, helped coordinate the Invention Convention and said it amazes her that kids can think this way.
“They get to justify what they believe and what they think and it just inspires creativity,” she said.
Other winners at the 2010 Invention Convention were:
First: Stone Kessler, Sandhill Elementary
Second: Tate Hendrix, Springfield Elementary
Third: Marshal Brant, Rincon Elementary
First: Olivia Knaus, Guyton Elementary
Second: Marina Herten, SEES
Third: Riley Quick, SEES
First: Justin Gillespie, SEES
Second: Hailey Frost, SES
Third: Emerie Mingledorff, Ebenezer Elementary
First: Chase Quinlan, GES
Second: Maegan Horton, RES
Third: Chase Howze, SES
First: Sierra Lamb, Sand Hill Elementary
Second: Brigs Moore, Marlow Elementary
Third: Josh Ricord, RES
First: Heath Allen, MES
Second: Joshua Eason, Blandford Elementary
Third: Natalie Schaut, GES
First: Owen Murphy, SEES
Second: Will Price, BES
Third: Tripp Scott, Sand Hill
First: Lauren Jackson, BES
Second: Nolan Hartley, SES
Third: Robbie Taylor, RES
Sports and Recreation
First: Caroline Johnson, EES
Second: Trip Mixon, SEES
Third: Mitchell Strickland, Sand Hill
Health and Safety
First: Cathleen Chance, SEES
Second: Austin Brant, RES
Third: Jack Cohn, BES
First: Michaela Digiovanni, EES
Second: Michaela Rahn, SES
Third: Darius Scott, SEES