CALDWELL, NJ — Trinity Academy recently announced the winners of its first-annual STEM competition, “Global Challenges, Local Solutions.”

Winning teams and their displays were a part of the Schools Office of the Archdiocese of Newark’s first annual STEM EXPO at the Archdiocesan Youth Retreat Center, located at 499 Belgrove Drive in Kearny, on Saturday. Projects representing Catholic elementary school students from Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union Counties were on display.

Trinity Academy’s students in grades 5-8th grade worked in groups from September through February on projects that focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The projects targeted specific world regions and engineered solutions to challenges that keep the end-user in mind. Some of the issues addressed included: climate change, world hunger, education for all, resilient housing, infrastructure and transportation issues, access to clean water and care for Earth’s natural resources.

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“This initiative is designed to take STEM education into the real world, and we are thrilled to be a part of it,” said Trinity Academy Principal Mary Cassels. “I’m so proud of the talent, vision, collaboration and care that have gone into these projects and I know the students are excited to showcase their thoughtful work.”

Winners of this first annual STEM contest included two 8th-grade group projects: Haiti’s Heroes and Apollo Water Filter. Haiti’s Heroes, comprised of teammates Kendall Roake, Brynn Caufield, Emma Turner, Julia Rodano, Kayla Jones and McKayla Horlacher, raised money to help solve hunger issues in Haiti. The Apollo Water Filter, developed by Elisabeth Prioletti, Clare Mulvihill, Brian Bolger, Sam Rojas and Nicholas Yanuzzi, featured a solar-powered water filter to assist the people of Haiti in gaining access to clean water.

Trinity Academy’s winning 7th-grade group was named Vetiver Paper Company. The group created a unique solution for responsible production and consumption of paper in Haiti. The concept and display were created by Isabella Castillo, Stephanie Perretti, Michelle Malagiere, Siobhan Stack, Teresa McKiernan, Alfred Pacicco and Angelo Delguercio.

Finally, one 5th-grade group, Planting Positivity, comprised of Jane Finney, Matthew Glenn, Mackenzie Mir, Ava Pothacamury, and David Zoppi, created a plan for responsible trash disposal and composting in Puerto Rico.  The participants of each group were awarded prizes, compliments of the Caldwell Rotary Club, a long-time supporter of Trinity Academy’s Science Fairs.

Trinity Academy was chosen by the Archdiocese of Newark to be a pilot school for a new STEM program titled “Global Challenges, Local Solutions.” This innovative program aims to empower students to develop solutions and technologies to meet challenges we face now and in the future. Trinity Academy was chosen as one of only 31 schools selected by the Archdiocese to participate.