Fairview High School crowned State Champion during Kentucky’s Virtual STLP State Championship Ceremony
(WESTWOOD, KY) – Kentucky’s K-12 Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) State Championship had a different look this year.
Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the state competition – normally held at Rupp Arena in Lexington and hosting around 15,000 students, teachers, and family members – was presented virtually.
"My most enjoyable workday of the year is our Kentucky K-12 STLP State Championship because it helps us showcase the importance of education technology and leadership skills to student learning in the classroom, community service, and Kentucky’s future," said David Couch, chief information officer from the Kentucky Department of Education's (KDE) Office of Education Technology (OET).
The journey to the 2020 STLP State Championship began with 1,800 STLP school team projects and close to 60,000 students competing in November and December at nine regional competitions throughout Kentucky.
Fairview’s project by Senior, Kyle Webster, entitled “The Westwood Hook” started as an idea to create a tool that would allow for faster response from firefighters. The tool takes inspiration from several popular firefighting tools. By combining those tools into one, firefighters can be more efficient in the heat of the moment.
After a few months of research and development, a concept was born which led to a full-scale 3D model being printed presented at STLP Regionals in Morehead.
Finally, after receiving feedback from firefighters on the 3D printed version, a few design changes were made. Several steel tools were welded together to make the model you see today. This tool has been used on real fire calls recently. The tool performed well and other local departments are interested in acquiring them for their firefighters.
“It was something that I thought was unreachable. I would’ve never dreamed I’d be in the spot that I am. It couldn’t have been done without the educators at Fairview. It’s definitely something I’ll never forget.” said, Kyle Webster.
Twenty out of the original 1,800 STLP school projects submitted were selected by virtual volunteer judges. From those 20 projects, four schools in four different project categories were named state champions. One of those being Fairview High School (Fairview Independent) for their Westwood Hook project in the 9-12th grade division. This is Fairview High School’s first STLP state championship.
“With all that is going on in the world, this really helps bring some much-needed positivity and joy to the community. It’s just a really exciting time here in Westwood. This is such a big accomplishment not only for Kyle but for the whole STLP program here at Fairview. ” said Fairview STLP Coach Corey Moore.
The entire 2020 STLP awards ceremony was aired on May 8 on KDE’s media portal .
“Many important things are going on right now. However, to me, us pressing forward with a virtual STLP State Championship is one of the most inspirational, meaningful, historic, and biggest Kentucky K-12 successes thus far during the COVID-19 crisis and my 28 years at KDE,” said Couch.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky schools have relied on education technology to continue instruction. OET has done the same by embracing remote collaboration technology to present the STLP State Championship for Kentucky’s students.
“Without hesitation, our school-level STLP coaches, district-level digital learning coaches, chief information officers and EdTech leaders, and families all did their part to support participation by our STLP student leaders,” said Couch. “Staying healthy at home, our STLP teams pivoted to the new, all-digital format and created online presentations to share with our volunteer judges.
“Several challenge-type competitions that would have occurred live at state back in April changed gears and moved to embrace online tools to bring contestants together.”
Fairview Superintendent, Jackie Risden-Smith said she is proud of Kyle and the district’s STLP program. “Kyle is very passionate about his project and wants to make a difference in the lives of others. This is an exciting time in Fairview when the hard work and passion of Kyle and our educators results in outcomes such as this! Kyle has a bright future ahead given his individual strengths, determination, and passion for helping others. It is a great day to be a Fairview Eagle!”
Interim Commissioner Kevin C. Brown said he is proud of how well Kentucky educators and students have adapted to the changes brought about by COVID-19.
“STLP is such a great experience and learning opportunity for our students,” Brown said. “Our teachers and OET did an amazing job making sure COVID didn’t stop the students from showcasing all they have learned and accomplished at the state championship. I want to say congratulations to all of this year’s winners and I look forward to seeing the great things they accomplish in life.”
For more information about STLP and STLP@Home, and to view presentations from all of the student participants, visit the STLP@Home website.
Link to Kyle's Submission: