Leila Esposito, a fifth grader at Summit’s Franklin School, recently competed in the SITE regional competition for the third consecutive year, coming in first place in her division.

As a third grader, Leila took first place in the regional competition for her invention “Movie Theater Snack Tray.” As a fourth grader, she participated in regionals but did not place. This year, she took first place for her invention “Kid Friendly Posterboard.”

SITE - Student Inventions Through Education - is an annual competitive event held in March in the Summit elementary schools and is open to all third, fourth, and fifth grade students. Summit’s SITE competition, which is based on the national SITE contest, is an opportunity for students to put their problem solving skills to work and to apply their knowledge and creativity to practical situations. Students must follow a protocol in creating their inventions: they must identify a problem; investigate hypothetical solutions; decide on the best solution; create a prototype of their invention; develop a pricing and marketing plan; keep a log of the process; and be prepared to verbally present their invention to the judging team. Judges base their decisions on a system that allocates points to a student’s success in a number of areas associated with the invention process. It is a long and detailed process, and the students must meet many benchmarks.

Competing students are categorized in two divisions: third graders are in one division, and fourth and fifth graders are comprised in the second division. The first and second place winners in each division in each of Summit’s five elementary schools qualify to participate in the regional competition.