Immaculate High School’s First  Engineering Team Wins Awards at National Competition

DANBURY—Immaculate High School engineering students recently represented the State of Connecticut in the 2019 National Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) after winning the State competition in January and took home two major awards. The Brave Engineers Team captured the National Best First Year Team Award for scoring the highest both in the writing and oral sections. The team also won the International Merit Award —Judges Award, an award for an exceptional team that the judges felt “had qualities that were not captured by other awards but were worthy of recognition.”
The team competed at the Real World Design Challenge in Washington, DC on April 13.  The RWDC annual competitions are run by public and private partnerships that work to set a solid foundation for the future STEM workforce. This was the first time Immaculate sent a team to the State and National competitions.
The IHS Brave Engineers team members are James Vigar ‘19 of Ridgefield (team leader, theory of operation and design), Keelan Doherty ‘20 of Danbury (design engineer), Yuxuan Brittany Hu ‘19 of Ridgefield (business case), Ruining Nancy Yang ‘19 of Danbury (safety manager) and Mackenzy Garden ‘19 of Danbury (graphic design and coordination). The team is coached by IHS Math teacher Mrs. Jeanine Antonios and mentored by Mr. Syed Raza and Mrs. Ruthanne Szumski of Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Engines.
“The national challenge added more constraints than the State-level challenge and included a written and oral presentation in addition to the revised engineering notebook,” said Mrs. Antonios. “The IHS team was the only U.S. team to get two Merit Awards. But more important, the students gained a unique experience exposing them to real world problems and gave them the opportunity to acquire professional skills,” she noted.
The RWDC 2019 Challenge provides high school students the chance to work on real-world engineering challenges using professional science and engineering resources in a virtual environment by applying classroom lessons to real-life challenges found in the working world.
The challenge was titled the “Unmanned Aerial System Challenge: Pilot Urban Survey Mission and required participating teams to design a drone within certain constraints to survey the health of plants in an urban setting. It also had to follow safety guidelines and build a business case that is profitable to the city and the company.
Immaculate High School is a private, non-profit Catholic college-preparatory institution serving students from 28 communities in Connecticut and New York. Founded in 1962, Immaculate High School allows students to focus on academic excellence, spiritual development, personal commitments and service to others.  Located in Danbury, Conn., Immaculate High School is part of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s parochial school system.
From left to right : Keelan Doherty, Ruining Nancy Yang, Mackenzy Garden, Yuxuan Brittany Hu , James Vigar