Clay Middle School student wins Got Grit contest


By Chris Bavender

A Clay Middle School sixth-grader showed he has the determination to work through the challenges of a project when he was recently named a winner of the Got Grit contest sponsored by Paxton Patterson. The company provides classroom technology learning systems.

“It’s a nationwide contest that encourages students to work through the difficult and frustrating times when designing or creating new concepts. It challenges kids to be mentally tough and overcome obstacles they may encounter,” said Derek Dial, STEM technology education instructor at CMS. “Students also learn what it takes to have a successful outcome after hard work is applied, which in my mind is a valuable lifelong skill.”

For the project, 12-year-old Connor Buckley took a concept sketch for a portable charger and turned it into a functioning prototype.

“At first I created the first model for fun, then I brought it in to school to show Mr. Dial,” Buckley said. “During the process, I broke a few tools, and the charger’s build quality was not the best. Then I thought about how I could make the charger nicer and improve it.”

Buckley, who said he is “always up for a challenge,” spent about three hours a week working on the charger during a two-month period.

“I learned that making a working product is not as easy as you would think,” he said, “and that if you put time and effort into something, you will get a good outcome.”

For his efforts, Buckley – who is the first Got Grit contest winner at Clay Middle School – won a $100 gift card and pizza and drinks for his entire class. As for his charger, don’t expect to see it mass-produced any time soon.

“My plan is not to produce it for others to buy, but it was a good idea to learn how to make my own,” he said. “Through this process, I have gained a great experience, which will hopefully lead me to a new process in the future.”



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