Last year, Dayton High School was chosen to have a varsity team to participate in Eurekafest, a four day event organized by the Lemelson-MIT Program and held at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA. With applicants from all over the United States, MIT accepted only 15 high school teams to receive InvenTeam grants and to be a part of Eurekafest 2018.

With the help of Innovations and Agriculture teachers Patrick Verdun and Mitch Coleman, fourteen bright students from Dayton High School spent roughly 8 months building and programming a self sustaining, fully automated chicken coop. During this time, the InvenTeam also raised money by collecting donations as well as selling or raffling custom made projects like metal art and wood engraved signs for living and airfare to make the trip to Massachusetts

This past June, the students flew out to the East coast to stay at MIT’s campus. While there, Dayton’s InvenTeam presented their project to a crowd of professors, teachers, graduated student inventors, and InvenTeams from other high schools around the US.

Dayton’s students spoke with integrity during the event, full of pride for what they had accomplished as a team. “We watched our students and saw how genuinely and naturally they spoke about their project. I think the students’ authenticity is what made us so popular,” said Verdun

During presentations, many participants from the event approached Dayton’s InvenTeam not only for their energy, but also for the sheer impressiveness of their project. “Our project was very well received,” said Verdun. “From an agriculture standpoint, the integration of technology [in our chicken coop] was what really made it stand out to everyone there.”

During the final day in Massachusetts, students toured the downtown area of MIT’s 168 acre campus and embarked on a Boston harbor boat ride to conclude their stay. 

“For Dayton’s InvenTeam to be involved in an event held by the leading institution of technology and design, it was a real eye opener to what Dayton can accomplish,” said Verdun. For the students, it showed them that it doesn’t matter where they come from – they are capable of competing with anyone from anywhere and making something great for the world.

Bevin Schrag Administrator

Bevin Schrag is a writer for Innovate Oregon. While working in social media and marketing at OnlineNW, she is currently studying the arts at Chemeketa Community College, to later become a media designer.