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by: SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Maia FastabendFive students at St. Helens Middle School received an award for producing a computer application judged to be the “Best in State,” Carol Dowsett, the school’s principal, announced Wednesday, Jan. 22.

A team of students in teacher Maia Fastabend’s eighth-grade technology class is Oregon’s middle school winner in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, Dowsett told the St. Helens School District board of directors at its Wednesday evening meeting.

Dowsett named the students as Jo Elliot, Kyle Harris, Cody Leanna, Tyler Lyman and David Parks.

The application the students created in Fastabend’s class helps users learn about the periodic table of elements, a fixture in science classrooms around the world. They call the program the “Periodic Table of Interactive Elements.”

“Needless to say, the staff and students at St. Helens Middle School are proud to have students, such as Tyler, Jo, Cody, Kyle and David, who put effort and creativity into their work,” Dowsett said. “We’re also proud to have teaching staff that include teachers like Maia Fastabend who think outside the box and add real-life activities into their technology lessons.”

The Periodic Table of Interactive Elements is eligible to be declared “Best in Region” in the middle school category, where it will be competing with the “Best in State” winners from 12 other Western states. Regional winners will be announced Tuesday, Feb. 4. Their schools will receive $5,000 cash grants, while those teams will go on to compete for “Best in Nation” status.

Oregon’s high school winners are students from the School of Science and Technology in Beaverton. They won “Best in State” for their application called “StudentConnect,” according to the contest website.

Both Dowsett and Fastabend are new faculty members this year at St. Helens Middle, having started work last summer.

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