Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences seniors win invention contest

Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences seniors win invention contest

November 20th, 2018 by Staff Reports in Local Regional News

Three students from the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences won Bright Spark's 2018 Invention Challenge with their idea for a a light-up, GPS dog collar called the Collite.

Brennan, Will and Tyler, all CSAS seniors, won a $100 gift card and beat out 30 other inventions through two rounds of judging to take first place.

"Bright Spark does a fantastic job creating an experience for kids to participate in meaningful Design Thinking," said Kristin Burrus, a CSAS science teacher and the team's sponsor, in a statement. "The Collite group have plans to make a working prototype of the collar using skills learned and resources from our CSAS VWeLab. I am proud of all the CSAS teams and know that this experience has made them better critical thinkers, collaborators, and future entrepreneurs."

Bright Spark, a project of Bridge Innovate, is in its sixth year. This year's challenge was sponsored by Western Electric. Entries were judged by Geoff Millener of The Edney Center, Matt Harris of Walker County Schools, Tim Walsh of Western Electric, and Allison Wolfe of CO.LAB.

"The Invention Challenge is a fun avenue for students like Brennan, Will and Tyler to build creative muscle," reads a statement by Bright Spark director Mary Kim. "We are thankful for all the students and teachers who participated this year! This challenge is a great stepping stone to our Student Design Competition where students will tackle a community-based problem through design thinking."

The Student Design Competition is another opportunity for school teams to showcase their talents. Teams from fourth grade to post-secondary can register through Dec. 1 at


Mentors needed for TN Promise students

tnAchieves needs almost 2,500 volunteers across the state to support TN Promise students. In Hamilton County, about 101 volunteers are needed to ensure each scholarship applicant has a mentor as they transition from high school to college.

Mentors spend one hour a month assisting students — reminding them of important deadlines, serving as a trusted college resource and encouraging students to meet their full potential.

TN Promise, in partnership with tnAchieves, allows every graduating high school senior the opportunity to attend a community or technical college, as well as several universities, tuition free with mentor support.

"Education needs community support and buy-in to thrive," reads a statement from tnAchieves executive director Krissy DeAlejandro. "tnAchieves launched in one community 10 years ago and spread across the state because it had the support of community leaders. We are not recruiting college experts. We are asking people who value education to serve as student cheerleaders!"

Potential mentors must be 21 years of age, are subject to a background check and must attend a one-hour training.

For more information or to apply, visit or contact tnAchieves Deputy Director of Outreach Graham Thomas at 615-604-1306 or


CHI Memorial honors two educator heroes

Brittany Harris, an academic coach at East Brainerd Elementary, and Colleen Ryan, a teacher at Rivermont Elementary, were honored with the Community Outreach Award at the CHI Memorial Heroes Luncheon, sponsored by the American Red Cross.

The two, who have appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," launched "The Passage" in April 2016. They transformed a red, redesigned mini schoolbus into a mobile classroom because they saw a need for the parents to have more opportunities to be active in their children's education and for children to have more opportunities for academic growth outside of the classroom.

"We feel like the best way for a student to learn is when they're having fun and excited about learning," Ryan said in a statement. "Building those relationships and connections with children as well as the community have been the most rewarding."


Local artist partners with urban art education program

Darcee Lee Burnette, a longtime local artist and regular at the Chattanooga Market, opened a new shop called Handmade Here on Nov. 16. The shop features items made by local artists.

Burnette, who is known for her own paper flower creations, has committed to donating some of the store's proceeds to Scenic City Angel, a Chattanooga nonprofit organization under Mark Making that provides art education programs to local urban and underserved children.

Burnette believes the organization has the power to change "entire communities" through encouragement, art education and mentorship, according to a news release.

The shop, Handmade Here, is at 850 Market St., Suite 120, in Miller Plaza.