Victorville, Calif.— On Friday afternoon, a team of eighth grade students from Phoenix Academy were crowned the winners of Mojave Water Agency’s Curiosity Quest Problem Solvers program and received a $3,000 check for their school.
The announcement was made by Joel Green, the creator and host of the national PBS television series Curiosity Quest, at the 2018 Innovators High Desert Water Summit at High Desert Church.
“The leadership of Mrs. Haresky and team leader, Charlyn Millican, made this exciting challenge a win for all the students at Phoenix Academy,” said Phoenix Academy Pricinpal Dee Castellano. “I feel confident that our future is in good hands and I am extremely proud of our team.”
The group competed against two other middle school and three high school teams to find a solution to the water conservation problem: “How do you use a drop of water more than once at home and school?” The Phoenix team worked together to construct a functioning water pump model, designed to take the run-off wastewater from a water fountain and recycle it for use in a toilet. They conducted research and met with Wilson So, school board member, to brainstorm ideas. The team continued to troubleshoot and created three prototypes before successfully creating a fully functioning model. The group also calculated the water savings for their campus and researched the impact such a prototype would have for local companies and business.
The team presented their findings to a panel of judges on Nov. 16 in hopes of securing the coveted champion title, which would be announced at the Water Summit on Feb. 2. The competition was filmed for an episode of Curiosity Quest and the episode is expected to air in 2018.
“We are up against some high school students, but are ready for the challenge,” said Karen Haresky, Phoenix Academy teacher, before the official announcement was made. “We are all super excited.” Competing teams included Montara Elementary, the Academy for Academic Excellence, Goodwill Education Center, Hesperia High School and University Preparatory School.