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Challenge accepted

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that a team of students from the SePennDOT Challenge winners neca Valley School District has been selected as the PennDOT District 10 winner for its third Innovations Challenge.
Mentored by Seneca Valley Senior High School Gifted Support Teacher Dean Walker, team members include Ty Brinkley, Darius Zalnasky, Sydney McMurray, Brady McConnell and Kathleen Monahan.
The winning regional team’s innovation was “Litter Gitters,” which are specialized trash receptacles that would be installed at strategic locations where motorists could dispose of trash that has accumulated in their vehicle.
“This is a very interesting group of kids, each of which brings something original to the table,” said Mr. Walker. “Watching these students work, it’s clear that they have a robust understanding of the engineering design process. They had several great ideas that might have been effective but would have been quite complex. Rather than settle with the first few viable solutions, they persisted and ended up designing a solution that’s beautiful and elegant in its simplicity. I’m excited to see how they continue to develop and improve the project as they prepare for the final competition in Harrisburg.”
Now in its third year, the PennDOT Innovations Challenge invites high school students in grades 9-12 to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges. The Innovations Challenge aims to not only help students explore actual transportation challenges that PennDOT is facing, but also open their minds to the very real possibility of working for PennDOT after graduation.
“We congratulate Seneca Valley on their selection and wish them luck as they advance in the competition,” said Brian Allen, PennDOT District Executive. “We continue to be impressed with the creativity of the participants in this challenge and are excited to see it grow in 2021.”
Regional winners will now move on to compete in Harrisburg for the state championship.


Pictured above (L-R): Ty Brinkley, Brady McConnell, Sydney McMurray, Katie Monahan and Darius Zalnasky.