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Celebrations for Springwood High School young engineers

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Two budding young engineers are celebrating after their innovative inventions were chosen from thousands to win Secondary Engineer Leaders Awards.

Pupils at Springwood High School entered the competition as an activity for one of the school’s Key Stage 3 STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) clubs, and Cherry Yu and Ethan Soong were chosen as regional winners for their year groups.

The competition asked students, ‘If you were an engineer, what would you do?’ and received more than 32,000 entries this year from primary and secondary schools across the UK.

Cherry Yu and Ethan Soong
Cherry Yu and Ethan Soong

To encourage them to find engineered solutions to everyday problems, those taking part had to interview engineering professionals, identify a problem, and then design a solution to it.

The 25 Springwood students spoke to Earth intelligence and space engineering expert Naziyah Mahmoud, and also worked collaboratively with the school’s Design Technology and English Departments to ensure their entries were of the highest standard.

As well as annotated drawings, each student had to write an accompanying letter to the judging panel of engineers and educationalists.

Cherry, who is 12 and in Year 7, won with her design for the ‘Automatic Safe’, while, in the year above her, 13-year-old Ethan’s winning design was the ‘Step Door’.

The winners and their families attended the East region awards ceremony at Anglia Ruskin University’s Chelmsford campus, where they were able to view their work and were given their awards and certificates, along with postcards showing their designs.

Springwood’s head teacher, Victoria Mann, said the young inventors “were both surprised and impressed with how big the university was and enjoyed seeing some of the engineering work on display.”

Ethan’s favourite was a 3D printer that could print another 3D printer, while Cherry’s was a machine that filled holes in the road with organic cement as it drove past them.”

“Their parents were very proud to have them do so well in the competition,” she added, “and really enjoyed the chance to see them get their awards at the ceremony. I think both students were surprised to hear they had won, as they entered in January and only found out they had done so well a few weeks ago. The project has made them both think that they might look more into a career as an engineer.”

Springwood, which is part of the West Norfolk Academies Trust, strongly encourages its students in STEM subjects, and other activities this year have included coding a message for astronauts that was displayed on the International Space Station, competing in a conservation and photography competition, and creating life-sized dinosaur footprints to display around the school.

Besides Cherry and Ethan, a further four Springwood students gained distinctions in the Leaders Awards.

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