The Northern New England Invention Convention recently sent the first student representing the state of Vermont to Invention Convention U.S. Nationals at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Whitaker Newton, a rising second-grade student at Vermont Day School, competed with over 330 students from across the United States. Whitaker’s participation in the national competition represents growth in the invention education ecosystem that is happening across the country, and, particularly, in Vermont, which will host its inaugural Invention Convention Fair in February 2024.
Newton created a prototype for the Octo Ocean Vacuum, which is designed to help clean garbage out of the ocean or any body of water. “Garbage in the ocean is really bad for animals and it can hurt them,” Newton says about the inspiration for his invention. Prior to attending Invention Convention U.S. Nationals, the second-grader competed in local competitions and the regional Northern New England Invention Convention hosted by the Young Inventors’ Program (YIP), an affiliate program of Invention Convention Worldwide.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Whitaker for forging the path to encourage more students from Vermont to participate in inventing as we continue expanding the Young Inventors’ Program throughout Vermont,” says Tina White, Director for the Young Inventors’ Program and the Northern New England Regional Invention Convention. “Whitaker, along with all the other young inventors he competed alongside, have remarkably demonstrated the problem-solving, creativity, STEM, and critical thinking skills that are so necessary in today’s constantly-evolving world and will shape the leaders of tomorrow. Their tenacity and empathy make us incredibly hopeful for the future!”
“As we near the back-to-school season, I hope that Whitaker’s success inspires more students and educators to participate in the Young Inventors’ Program at Vermont Day School and throughout the state,” says Sage Bagnato, Head of School at Vermont Day School.
Founded in 1986 by Dr. Robert H. Rines, the Young Inventors’ Program, a partner of the University of New Hampshire Leitzel Center and an Invention Convention Worldwide affiliated program, inspires the next generation of STEM leaders by fueling excitement for innovation. The program is recognized internationally as an educational resource center dedicated to promoting creativity, invention, and scientific achievement. YIP fuels the spark of genius by exciting today’s youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). YIP enriches young inventors in New Hampshire, northern Massachusetts, and Vermont with plans to grow throughout Northern New England. The capstone regional event for the Young Inventors’ Program is the Northern New England Invention Convention. Students from New Hampshire, northern Massachusetts, and Vermont showcase their projects and celebrate together with the University of New Hampshire, board, and volunteers.
Starting this upcoming school year, Vermont Day School will be partnering with the Young Inventors’ Program to grow the program and invention education in Vermont. The school plans to become a hub for YIP in Vermont over the next few years and hopes to serve as a host for professional development and other resources for Vermont educators and students who want to get involved with Invention Convention.
Vermont’s Invention Convention Fair will take place at Vermont Day School in Shelburne on Saturday, February 10. Participation in Vermont’s Invention Fair is open to all K-8 students in the state.
Parents of K-8 students who are interested in participating in the Young Inventors’ Program or Vermont’s Invention Fair can visit vtdayschool.org for more information and registration details, or contact Sage Bagnato at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Young Inventors’ Program
The Young Inventors’ Program aims to provide programs, pathways, and information to develop the intellectual capacity, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving abilities of all students so that they may become contributing and forward-thinking members of the science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the invention community. Learn more information about the Young Inventors’ Program at www.unh.edu/leitzel-center/young-inventors-program.