Originally created 04/17/99

Area youths get inventive



Hundreds of students from across Augusta and as far away as Twin City, Ga., submitted their invention ideas to be judged Friday in hopes of winning a new IBM computer system for their school.

Among the 457 entries in the regional 1999 Invention Contest was everything from a Kidnapper Trapper to a glow-in-the-dark toilet seat to the Home Trash Mover, designed to suck trash from the house and shoot it into an outside container.

One elementary school pupil even submitted the heartfelt idea of a Cord Sitter to keep his grandfather's oxygen tube straight, allowing him to move around more easily.

"We expected the ideas to be more fun-oriented, but many of the entries so far have been created to help their parents clean the house or do yardwork," said Beth Fritts, Celebrate 2000 events coordinator for The Augusta Chronicle and a contest judge. "A lot of the entries have been very creative."

The contest, called Gadgets & Gizmos for 2000, is part of the Celebrate 2000 program coordinated locally by The Chronicle to usher in the millennium. Other sponsors are TV station WGAC (News Channel 12), and radio station WFXA (Foxie 103).

Students in grades 4-12 were asked to illustrate and explain in a written essay an idea for an invention that they would like to see designed in the new millennium.

Essays were judged at the fourth- and fifth-grade, middle school, and high school level, and the first place essay in each category will be awarded $100 and a new computer system for the winning student's sponsoring school.

Second place entries will be awarded $75, with third place taking home $50. Sponsoring teachers for each winner will be awarded $25. The winning entries will be announced sometime next week.

"We were surprised with the tremendous response we received to this contest," said Ms. Fritts. "There is so much going on right now, with all of the science fairs and school contests, that these kids and their teachers just don't have a lot of free time. They should all be commended for their hard work."

There will be reception for the winners April 29 at the Augusta-Richmond County Museum.

Scotty Fletcher can be reached at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 111, or ccchron@augustachronicle.com.