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Innovation to win the future

Mead said having the recognition from Tonko was "rewarding" and with the fact that the congressman is heavily involved in the technology and energy industry added a little more weight to it.

"It was definitely rewarding actually meeting someone who is familiar with the sort of stuff we're learning right now," she said.

Right before television station YNN were about to film a spot about the device, Tech Education Teacher Barry Witte asked Malatesta if they had any plans for copyrighting their work so someone else wouldn't be able to build their own after seeing it on television.

YNN had to figure out how to work around it by not showing too much of how it works.

Witte said the recognition was a long time coming, as he said Colonie High School has had this program in place for over a decade.

"We're not doing anything differently than we've done for the last 15 years," he said. "It's really nice to know that we've reached a level of acceptance and recognition that comes with a congressional visit."

Watching over the students, Witte likened it to the movie "Field of Dreams," as he said they already know what type of career they would like to pursue and are working diligently towards that goal.

"It's not like we have the state mandating everybody take this against their will," he said of the program. "This is truly a place where students, who are interested in their work and have a clear vision of their own future, come and work their hearts out."

And they do, because even as the Tonko walked around and spoke with teachers and reporters, the students were still hard at work on their projects. He would drop in by and check up on the students, seemingly fascinated by the work they were doing while letting them know that they were just the kind of workers this country needs to progress forward.

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