Four 2021 graduates of Van Wert High School were recently awarded first place prizes in the 2021 Believe in Ohio State Competition. Zach Mason and Octavius Tucker brought home first place in the engineering category with their plan “The Big Rig Trash Compactor”, while Sophie Rutkowski and Andy Li won the biomedical category with their “Massaging Biometric Compression Sleeve”. Each team was awarded a $10,000 scholarship.
Sophie Rutkowski and Jamie Burenga also won a $1,000 scholarship through the Believe in Ohio STEM Scholarship program in May 2021.
"I am so very proud of our Engineering and Biomedical programs,” said Bob Priest, Van Wert High School principal. “Our teachers spend a tremendous amount of time providing outstanding opportunities for our students. Additionally, we are blessed to have outstanding students who take advantage of these opportunities. These students conduct extensive research, collaborate, and cooperatively build these projects better than any other in Ohio. As a result, they are recipients of $10,000, and we are extremely proud!"
Funded by the State of Ohio through the Department of Higher Education and operated as a program of The Ohio Academy of Science, Believe in Ohio is a STEM and entrepreneurship program that teaches students how to commercialize products and services and create business plans that are driven by innovation. A total of 31 STEM Commercialization and STEM Business Plans were awarded with $274,000 in scholarships at the state competition.