Thursday, May 14, 2009

Home Sweet Home: Alumni catching up with this years InvenTeam

Some of you may remember me from last school year but for those of you newer to following the Saratoga InvenTeam blog let me introduce myself. Last year 17 fellow students, Mr. Gallagher, and I applied for and were fortunate to receive a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant from the Lemelson-MIT Program. All of us having been seniors, we ended our year with a passing of the torch to this years current InvenTeam as we prepared to head of to college in the coming Fall. Now as many of our Freshman years come to a close, some fellow graduates and I can't resist the urge to come back and see how the current InvenTeam as doing and offer a helping hand.

It is without a doubt apparent that this years class is doing phenomenal work with the new implementation of zone selection, heightened search features, and much much more. Even looking at the work of new high school Freshman in our schools Project Lead the Way program is is obvious that with every passing year the work gets better and better as each graduating class raises and raises the bar. So far I have had the privilege of hanging out with the InvenTeam after school on two occasions so far and it is great to see such a motivated group of dedicated individuals working together. Everyone I have met is headed off to great schools next fall and their university's are privileged to have them.

In addition, is is awesome to catch up with our old InvenTeam friends from last year and hear what each other is doing. It is without a doubt that our InvenTeam experience has had a profound impact in shaping our futures and what we will do in life. Steve Rancour who was responsible for most of the web design on the Garden Consultant last year changed his major soon after settling in to RPI to follow what has become his passion which thanks to his InvenTeam experience is now designing websites! Juliana Wakeman refined her future plans when she decided that rather than being an engineer she wanted to follow in her favorite teachers footsteps and become a Project Lead the Way teacher through her schools program at WPI (For those of you at MIT reading this, keep an eye out for a grant application coming your way from her soon!). As for myself, I have been lucky enough to be working this summer for the Lemelson-MIT Program. After the work I helped facilitate as Project Manager for our InvenTeam last year I have been asked to help create social networking and collaboration mediums for next years grant recipients and this years Excite Award Winners. All of us had a fantastic time with the InvenTeam program and it is obvious that InvenTeams was a life changing experience for many of us.

As more and more of us alumni get back from school ,the after school crowd seems to be getting bigger and bigger in Mr. Gallaghers room. The work this years team is doing is amazing and light-years beyond my fellow teammates and my work from last year. Even the work the freshman classes at SSHS are doing is astounding. As my sister Olivia moves from the Middle School to the High School next fall and begins her four years in the Project Lead the Way program, I find it hard to even imagine the amazing work that her InvenTeam will be doing her Senior year as each passing year heightens and heightens future expectations.

Everyone at the Lemelson-MIT Foundation, Project Lead the Way, Saratoga Springs High School, and everyone's favorite teacher and above all mentor, Mr. Gallagher,

Thank you so much for the opportunies you allowed us and most importantly, for giving my classmates and I the perfect environment to grow and learn in. We could not have done it without you and the best part is, there is way more to come! We can not thank you enough.

All the best,

Elliott Poppel
Project Manager of the Saratoga Springs InvenTeam 2007-2008

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P.S. - For any fellow alumni reading this, be sure to stop in after school Monday when I am planning to be in class or Thursday swing by with Steve and Jeff. See you soon!