Ridgefield inventors take home awards from national convention

Ridgefield elementary school students, back row, Sophie Zezula and Addison Avery-Payne attended the National Invention Convention in Dearborn, Mich. last weekend along with, front row, Abigail Eng, Donya Royaee, Lino Marrero, Ruby Weiner and East Ridge Middle School student Ben Kiefaber.

The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. turned orange and black this past weekend when eight student inventors from Ridgefield competed at the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo (NICEE).

The eight inventors were from four different Ridgefield schools.

Branchville Elementary School was represented by second grader Jayden Deland and fourth grader Donya Royaee. Farmingville Elementary School had three young inventors, all fifth graders: Addison Avery-Payne, Lino Marrero and Sophie Zezula.

Two third graders from Scotland Elementary School, Abigail Eng and Ruby Weiner, made the trip to Michigan. East Ridge Middle School seventh Ben Kiefaber was the lone middle schooler.

There were 108,000 student inventors nationwide who participated in local Invention Convention programs with only the top 427, or 0.4%, being invited to participate at this past weekend’s NICEE competition. Along with presenting their inventions to industry experts and judges, the student inventors received special access to the museum, listened to speeches by entrepreneurs and engineers, and created new friendships with other inventors from across the nation.

In addition to the honor of competing at the NICEE event, several Ridgefield inventors received one or more of the 70 awards given out. Jayden Deland won  second place in the second grade division for her invention “Safe Sizzors;” Addison Avery-Payne won the Home Organization Industry Award presented by Macy’s and the Chairman’s Choice Award presented by the STEMIE Coalition for her invention “The ‘Out-Fit’ – One Eco-Friendly Hanger for Life;”  Sophie Zezula won second place in the fifth grade division and the Earth and Geosciences Industry Award presented by AGI for her invention the “Snow Straw;” finally, Ben Kiefaber won the Human Mobility Industry Award presented by Otis Elevator Company, the Invention Process Award – Best Prototype presented by the STEMIE Coalition, and the Patent Application Award presented by WilmerHale for his invention the “Rear-Ender Defender.”  

Ridgefield Invention Convention programs are an extracurricular activity, which highlights the enthusiasm and dedication of these young inventors. Invention Convention is a K-12 educational program designed to develop and enhance critical thinking skills through invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship, while encouraging an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Go to ctinventionconvention.org or inquire at your local school for more information about how to participate next year.  

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