RHS freshman takes first place in space contest

By Berly Perez

Freshman Caroline  “Ella” Wells  built a box that defies gravity.

  As part of the “Go For Launch” Higher Orbits space science event held at the Durham Public Library over the Martin Luther King, Jr weekend, Wells and her team built a science project with a four-by-four box and tested  its effects in microgravity.

“I was surprised we won because there were a lot of good teams,” Wells said.

“Ella is a great representative ambassador for engineering because she is very passionate about what she does,” said engineering teacher Tim Velegol. “She’s really interested in the field of engineering, has had a lot of interest in math and science as a student for quite a while and the fact that she has found her way to the program is a really good thing.”

Wells is an engineering student participating in Riverside’s Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program. PLTW students learn to adapt and excel while discovering their potential and opportunities available to them.

“There’s so many choices that people have when it comes to deciding where to go for high school in Durham that it is sometimes difficult for most eighth graders to find their path and choose the best fit for them,” said Velegol, who is Riverside’s PLTW program director. “They could go to other schools like the animal science program at Jordan, but in Ella’s case it is so significant that at such young age she has found her path here in the engineering program.”

Riverside’s engineering program was recently named a “PLTW Distinguished School.” Only 340 of the 5,000 high school PLTW programs nationwide earned the honor. Of that 340, 133 are high schools and 10 are in North Carolina. Of that 340, six are North Carolina high schools.

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