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Students in Chester County STEM Competition Propose Lifesaving Prototype “CRLA”

Downingtown, PA - Chester County high school students skilled in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competed in this year’s regional Governor’s STEM competition on Tuesday, February 5 at the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU).

Seven teams from surrounding Chester County schools, including: Bishop Shanahan High School, Church Farm School, Coatesville Area Senior High School, Conestoga High School, Oxford Area High School, TCHS Pennock’s Bridge Campus and TCHS Pickering Campus, competed against each other for 1st place and to continue on to the state competition held in May. This year, Bishop Shanahan finished on top, with Conestoga coming in close second and TCHS Pickering securing third place. The winning proposal was “CRLA,” a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Lifesaving Assistant, created to make CPR easier for the user. “CRLA” is a portable device that detects the pressure being applied during CPR, indicates if the user is applying too much or too little pressure and beeps at 120 beeps per minute, helping the user maintain the proper compression rate.

John Janasik, Bishop Shanahan High School mentor, noted, “This team was extraordinary! They took a simple concept and, working as a team, turned that concept into a real, working prototype. In its present form, the product can save lives. Hopefully, we can make the changes we proposed as improvements to CRLA and we can do well at the state-level competition in May. I really can't say enough about how this team came together and became a cohesive group with one thing in mind, to make CRLA work!”

The competition is open to students in grades 9-12 who attend public, charter, private and career and technical education centers in Pennsylvania. Schools select a team of up to five students who work under the guidance of a teacher or mentor approved by the school. Each team selects an issue, conducts research, designs, constructs and presents a prototype to a panel of judges who grade the presentations using a state-wide rubric. Students were given a $500 stipend to aid in their mission.

In preparing for the competition, students engaged with their local communities to learn about STEM-related careers, helping them develop solutions to problems and aid them in their research and application. Throughout the process, students gained valuable skills, such as: communication, problem-solving and critical thinking, while providing a unique opportunity to share their creativity with students from across the state.

Bishop Shanahan High School students will advance to the state competition held on May 9-10, 2019, with an additional $750 stipend to improve their prototype.