Categories: Brevard County Public Schools

Merritt Island Students to Participate in Innovation Challenge at KSC

MERRITT ISLAND, Florida – Engineering students from Merritt Island High School will be participating in the 2016 Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge at Kennedy Space Center over the course of the 2015-16 school year.

The students are seniors in the da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology – which is a four-year CHOICE academy in Brevard Public Schools.

According to its website, “The Challenge is an annual multi-phase competition that challenges high school students (ages 13-18) from across the globe to use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), innovation and entrepreneurship to develop technologies and solutions to real-world needs.”

“The Conrad Challenge was founded by Nancy Conrad in honor of her late husband, astronaut, innovator and entrepreneur, Charles “Pete” Conrad, Jr. The 2015-2016 Challenge marks the 10th competition.”

MIHS has three teams working on real-world problems in their senior capstone Engineering Design and Development class.  The problems the students are focusing on are 1) hygiene issues for public restrooms, 2) drowning prevention, and 3) property damage and theft from malfunctioning garage doors.

Recently, the MIHS students travelled to Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami to collaborate with students there who have won the Conrad Challenge in previous years.

“This is the first year our students have participated in the Challenge,” said Charles Parker, da Vinci Academy director and engineering teacher.  “The Gulliver Prep students were invaluable with advice and feedback on our projects.”

Nationally-recognized Project-Lead-the-Way is the curriculum provider for the academy.  The class teaches research and design skills, and the students will build a project prototype in the Spring.

The da Vinci Academy will be accepting applications for next year’s freshman class beginning on November 7.  Any student in Brevard County is eligible to attend.  If you have questions, contact Parker at

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