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Students show off innovations at Project Lead the Way Senior Showcase

Posted at 4:44 PM, Apr 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-25 18:19:25-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The school year is winding down for metro area high school seniors, but there is one last assignment students must complete before graduation -- their senior capstone projects. You could see their innovations on the market in the near future. 

"This is the showcase. This is where students bring in their innovations and ideas on how to solve real-world problems," said Vince Bertram, President and CEO of Project Lead the Way. 

On Wednesday, more than 350 seniors from more than 40 area high schools presented their hard work at the Project Lead the Way Senior Showcase. 

"This is the next generation of innovators, of entrepreneurs, people who are going to continue to thrive and help build our economy at a local, state and national level," said Bertram. 

For the past year, students have been engineering, designing, and developing their projects.

Amanda Hertel and her team from Mill Valley High School wanted to create something that would be useful to many. 

"We made a Salivary pH Diagnostic Test," said Hertel. 

Hertel, along with her partners, created an at-home test that can tell if you have periodontal diseases like gingivitis or cavities. After taking the test, you can learn more about your results on their website. 

"It tells you what diseases you're at risk for, dietary recommendations, and also a notice that you should go see a dentist if you're above a certain value," said Hertel. 

Levi Madden and his team from Lee's Summit North High School created a wheelchair with 'swerve drive.' 

"We can rotate each wheel independently, 360 degrees," said Madden. 

The group did their own research that showed 87 percent of the people they interviewed did not feel mobile enough in their current wheelchairs. 

"We actually had one person say that their daughter is a wheelchair user, and she's been looking for something that would fit her needs and said this could fit her needs, so it's really cool to hear that there is a market for this," said Madden. 

Every year, several students nationwide graduate with patents for their Project Lead the Way innovations. 

"What the community should see is what the next generation's going to look like," said Bertram. 

Project Lead the Way continues to grow across the country. Six years ago, there were only 300,000 students participating in the program. Now, there are more than 4 million students.