EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Innovation, collaboration and environmental sustainability were emphasized as about 200 students competed in the annual Tech Expo to celebrate Career and Technical Education Month on the five campuses of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools.

“MCVTS is proud to showcase our students' creativity, ingenuity and skills in the Tech Expo,” Superintendent of Schools Dianne D. Veilleux said. “Across the district, in a highly competitive series of events, students present a wide range of solutions to community concerns and problems from health care to sustainability of resources to the inspiration of the arts to the evolution of technology.

“It is my great pleasure to have my faith in the future strengthened by their innovation and collaboration.”

Sign Up for E-News

The presentations included the invention of a filtering system to use rainwater in the home, development of a wheelchair that would prevent skin ulcers over long-term use, renovation of a courtyard on the East Brunswick Campus using Manhattan’s High Line as a model, a marketing campaign for a company in Puerto Rico that makes edible spoons, development of an alternative to plastic bags using rice, contact lenses that monitor the wearer’s glucose levels, and an escape-room game that used recycled materials found in the school.

“Once again I was very impressed with the innovation and the level of collaboration,” said Sean McDonald, MCVTS director of career and technical education. “Students worked very hard to reach across their schools and across the district.

“There also has been outreach to the community, which is great preparation for life after graduation,” he added.

It was the second year that presentations were awarded extra points for collaboration among different career majors within a school (five points), among schools within the district (10 points), and with outside organizations or companies (20 points).

The presentations were judged by panels that included district administrators, educators from outside the district, and representatives of governmental, business and nonprofit organizations.

“Everything was more difficult than we thought it would be,” said junior Joe Temenski of Sayreville about the Courtyard Project on the East Brunswick Campus, which will have ramps to accommodate the handicapped.

But senior Nicole Loughran of Spotswood said the effort will be well worth it.

“It will be a nice place for the whole school,” she said.

The winners were: East Brunswick School of Career Development, first place, Courtyard Project, a collaboration among building services, architectural technology, agriscience, graphic design, and machine tool technology majors; second place, Fabric Ductware Design, HVAC and architectural technology; third place, using natural products to make food dyes, culinary arts and baking.

East Brunswick Tech, first, the History of Light in Film, digital film; second, the Escape Room, graphic design; Illusion, dance and multimedia art and design.

Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies, Edison: first, Sustainable Future/Grain of Rice, a collaboration among Edison Academy students and pre-engineering students from the East Brunswick Campus; second, Care Bear; third, CF Tracker.

Perth Amboy Campus: first, Magic Mirror, electrical technology and computer systems technology; second, MCFOODS Drive, culinary arts and graphic design; third, MUSE Restaurant, culinary arts and graphic design.

Piscataway Campus: first, Edible Spoon, graphic design; second, Water Filer, welding and computer assisted drafting; third, Sustainable Garden, horticulture and culinary arts.

Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences, Woodbridge: first, Ulcermate Wheelchair; second, Traffic Pants; third, Glucose Monitoring Lenses. 

McDonald says plans are being developed for a new round of presentations next year.  

“I foresee a next level of top winners being invited to compete districtwide,” he said.

MCVTS was the first full-time county vocational school district in the nation. More information is available at www.mcvts.net.