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JIS students place high in international challenge

Gifted education students at Jemison Intermediate School participated in an international Fluor Engineering Challenge that resulted in high scores internationally and one of the teams winning a $1,000 drawing to benefit the school.

The students worked long hours together in teams of two or three to design and construct ball launchers and catchers, using only cups, tape, wooden pencils, rulers and paper.

They loved it.

“I had some students wanting to stay after school,” Rachel Mims, gifted education teacher at JIS, said, “and they would stay out here in the hallway and my class until the bell for the bus rang — and they wouldn’t even go back to their classroom, they were so into it.”

Once the projects were completed, scores were tallied and then submitted to Fluor Corporation.

The teams scored top percentages internationally.

“We kept it a secret until we could announce it,” Mims said, adding that the children had been thrilled at the news.

Fifth graders Phoenix Anderson, Aiden Frederick and Danielle McCay placed in the top 5 percent internationally for their team project, and fifth graders Ayden Collum and Ava Claire Millard placed in the top 10 percent internationally.

For their team project, fourth graders Landan Lewis and Bryson Varden placed in the top 8 percent internationally.

Gage Barber and Chaz Melton of JIS said they were surprised to be one of the three winning teams for the 2018 Fluor Engineering Challenge United States Drawing.

“Especially with the random winner, I kept telling them, ‘If we get it in there, we have that chance to win,’” Mims said. “So, the first thing is just to try. This team didn’t score in the highest, but they were still drawn. So, if you try and you work hard, that’s what matters.”

Fluor Engineering Challenge was originally created as an annual Fluor employee competition to celebrate Engineers Week, but it expanded this year to include students, according to a Fluor Corporation press release.

“Thanks to our innovative partnership with Science Buddies, we’re pleased to be able to share this fun and engaging resource with students across the globe to provide a glimpse into this rewarding and thought-provoking profession,” Senior Vice President Mark Landry of Fluor Corporation said.

For JIS students, it may be a challenge worth repeating next year.