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Twenty-two fifth graders from all six Trumbull public elementary schools garnered special recognition as Connecticut State achievement award winners on Tuesday night, June 2, when their creative innovations and presentation boards from the Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC) were displayed at Trumbull High School.

The excited winners set up their tri-folds in the commons just before the 12th annual ACE Foundation Recognition Celebration for elementary and middle school students and their parents.

As guests gathered in the cafeteria for the showing last week, Trumbull High School sophomore Allie Lewis performed her original piano music.

Allie added an air of formal elegance to the excitement, as parents perused the prototypes and explanatory displays and proud winners explained their inventions.

With the support of the Trumbull Academic Challenge for Excellence (ACE) Foundation, science teachers of fifth graders in town had encouraged students last fall to explore scientific concepts to solve common problems in creative and useful ways.

Trumbull science program leader Floria Mallozi explained that 498 fifth graders had participated locally and had been evaluated two or three times each for critical thinking and problem solving skills by a panel of volunteer judges from diverse professional disciplines.

“The Invention Convention started in 1983,” explained Mallozi. “The competition challenges students to develop a new idea or improve on something that already exists.”

Trumbull sent 51 students representing the six public elementary schools to the state finals at UConn’s Gampel Pavilion, and 22 of those won achievement awards. Five of the 22 also received sponsorships or company awards.

“All of the products that were displayed showed such creativity and thoughtfulness. They were that good,” Mallozi said.

She introduced Daniels Farm fifth grade teacher Steve Spillane to highlight the achievements of award winner Gabriella Margolies and her science teacher Stephanie Domanick.

“I didn’t know that there was a National Invention Convention,” said Spillane. “But Gabriella’s invention not only won top awards in Storrs, but also traveled all the way to Washington, D.C. for competition.” There it earned the Washington Homeland Security Roundtable. This award recognized the inventor for the best technology invention for the home in 2016.

“Just as exciting is that now Gabriella’s Insta-Rack is awaiting patent,” said Spillane.  

The wall-mounted bike rack provides a simple in-the-garage storage solution for bikes without kick stands.

Gabriella’s brother William is particularly happy the CIC judging is over. It means his bike, which Gabby used to display her Insta-Rack, is back home in the garage.

More on display

Hope Ivanovich of Booth Hill School explained her Device Pouch to The Times.

“It holds your device up in the car,” she tells onlookers. “It can hold up to a 9x11-inch device, and there is also room for battery backup, a charger and even other devices.”

Hope’s inspiration came when she traveled in the car and didn’t have enough hands to hold her iPad and change screens. A cloth and plastic carrier was the eventual result.

Daniels Farm fifth grader Julia Masiuk displayed her Comfy Cap, a swim cap with ear cushions built in to prevent overpressure on ears and protect them from water.

“It won’t come off while diving in,” Julia explained.

The young swimmer said her favorite stroke is the breaststroke.  

Julia’s mother explained that the invention came about because the young competitors all complained that their ears hurt after wearing the tight bathing caps during competitions.

Nicholas Lee demonstrated his Tune ‘N Turner, a gear-driven plastic page turner device for his violin music.  

A fifth-grader from Daniels Farm School, Nicholas excitedly explained the mechanics of the gears and how he calculated the ratio for proper flipping of pages so he could continue practicing his music without stopping to shuffle the sheets.