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Innovation to win the future

After Pres. Barack Obama said in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Jan. 25, that America needs to be the leader in innovation and invention of new technologies, Congressman Paul Tonko visited Colonie High School students who were doing just that on Thursday, Jan. 27.

That's what it's all about, he said in the speech to students, teachers and school administrators upon entering the classroom. "Introducing people to the potential of careers, to the passions that you want to embrace, because each of us has gifts that we need to discover."

The school was one of the first to adopt the Project Lead the Way program in New York State back in 1997, helping students become prepared for jobs in the field of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and introducing them to careers in these fields.

The students in room 136 of the school were working on several different projects when Tonko showed up. Seniors James Mele, Mike Metzger and Yaw Agyei were individually working on bridges for the 2011 Model Bridge Competition on February 17, at the Marriott Hotel in Albany.

Mele said they are working on bridges that can hold the most weight for a possible $500 cash prize. He added that he had made a bridge previously in his Principles of Engineering class to learn the, but said the competition was voluntary.

Seniors Nick Malatesta, who will be attending RIT, and Sarah Mead, who will be attending WPI, invented their own device that makes sure a homeowner's sub-pump is running.

"I've talked to a lot of engineers that have gone through college that have explained to me that this kind of stuff that we're doing here in high school is the same kind of stuff that they do as their senior projects for college," said Malatesta. "So it's almost like we're four or five years ahead of everyone else."

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