A team of student engineers from Mendota is September's super star pick by Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino. Earlier this year the four students took first place at a national competition in Philadelphia.
The four are now freshmen in high school but last semester as eighth graders they were unbeatable designing prosthetic arms. First they won a state title. Then they designed a different prosthetic arm in Philadelphia. Samed Obaid is a team member. "We actually thought we were gonna lose. We had our head down but as soon as they called Mendota for first place we all stood up jumping happy."
The challenge was to build an arm of a maximum budget of $80 dollars. The Mendota students did it a lot cheaper. "For this arm we thought people really need something that they can recharge and reuse. So we decided we'd only use a portable battery. The cost of this arm was only eight dollars."
Superintendent Jim Yovino applauded their hard work. "I'm honoring them because what better way of giving back and helping the world and helping people who need this type of assistance."
The four started their project at the beginning of their eighth grade year. They worked after school and on weekends creating five different prosthetic arms. Sergio Mejia is another team member. "It's an honor because not many people are awarded super star and I think it's big and we built a prosthetic arm all people can afford it."
These teammates are also good friends. Each has a specialty that made a difference. "Four different passions combined together can take you a long way."
Dedication and hard work got them to Philadelphia. Months of preparation brought them a national award. All four say they enjoy school and are considering some phase of engineering when they get to college.