Shane Kilponen and Brennan Leck are eighth grade students at RHMS who designed a clamp for the doors throughout the school which will greatly improve the safety and security of their school.
Article and photo by Amy Shanahan
The ingenuity and skill of middle school aged kids was made extremely apparent recently at Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS). Eighth grade students Shane Kilponen and Brennan Leck learned about a problem that the school was having regarding the safety and security of the school, and they set out to solve it in their STEM class.
Schools throughout the district have large doors that can close off each wing of the school in case of a lock down or other emergency. These doors are kept open during the school day, but during an emergency, they must be quickly closed and then an administrator must come around and manually lock the doors with a key. Kilponen and Leck discovered a way to mainstream this process.
Their invention is a clamp that holds the push bar on the doors in an open position but allows the doors to remain locked. In the case of a lock down or other emergency, a teacher or student simply slides the clamp over, which allows the doors to close and remain locked without the need for a key.
Kilponen and Leck used the 3-D printer at RHMS to design and create the clamp. “Our first attempt at the clamp came out too small and didn’t fit correctly, but we made the next one longer and bigger and it worked,” explained Leck. “We hadn’t done 3-D printing before, but we learned that you can create anything you want; there really are no guidelines.”
The administration at RHMS was so impressed with the clamp that they are producing enough to be used throughout the building and will make them available to other schools. Kilponen credits his STEM class with the inspiration for this idea and many others that the students work on throughout the day. “I like how there’s a variety of different projects you can work on, and you can pick what stations you want and everything is different.”