MONTGOMERY, Alabama (May 6, 2015) – The reigning Alabama Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) champions defend their title for the fourth year in a row. Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced the Fort Payne Seven from Fort Payne High School won the statewide aerospace and engineering design competition following rigorous judging by three industry professionals.

“I am proud of all the teams who entered the competition and of the Fort Payne Seven for their success. This is a school administration that has clearly embraced the competition and understands its value to students. I appreciate their commitment to educating our students for success in the 21st century workforce,” said Lt. Governor Ivey.

Eighteen teams from across the state registered to compete. Each team received $1 million in professional engineering software, along with training, curriculum materials, and access to mentors. The teams were challenged to design a Small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) to support precision agriculture. Submissions were judged by industry professionals from Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, and Boeing, and awarded points for their 1) team engagement, 2) system design, 3) application plan, and 4) business plan.

“The teams took the challenge to heart and experienced the challenges that development groups of today go through on every project,” said Ken Young, RWDC judge and General Manager of Lockheed Martin’s Unmanned Integrated Systems.  “The opportunity to experience working in a STEM team environment had a positive impact on the students and is encouraging for the future of American technology development.  I’m convinced from reviewing the projects and talking with the teams, they are ready to compete at the national level and I wish them the very best.”

The Fort Payne Seven will move on to represent Alabama in the National RWDC Competition in November.

"Our team has learned many valuable lessons throughout our participation in the challenge and we look forward to the lessons we will learn through competing at the national level. We would like to thank our Superintendent, Mr. Jim Cunningham, and our sponsor, Mrs. Hannah Turner, for all of their time and support," said Junior, Hunter Terry.

In celebration of their state title, the team will travel to Montgomery on Monday, May 11, 2015, for an awards luncheon hosted by Lt. Governor Ivey.

Fort Payne Seven team members include: Reagan Anderson (Junior), Joshua Johnston (Junior), Emma Simpson (Sophomore), Hunter Terry (Junior), Hunter Vezertzis (Junior), Matthew Wilding (Junior), and Noah Wofford (Sophomore). Hannah Turner served as the team’s coach.  

Alabama’s Real World Design Challenge is a partnership of the Office of Lt. Governor Kay Ivey and The Alabama Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Engineering Coalition for Education (AMSTEC).


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