Oakley seniors receive ‘honorable mention’ in nationwide contest

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Students at Oakley Junior-Senior high are being recognized on a national level for a STEM competition project aimed at helping those who use oxygen tanks.

Seniors Emree Larson, Sarah Austin and Mattaya Searle were awarded an “honorable mention” in the nationwide 11th annual Samsung solve for tomorrow contest.

The goal is to solve a real-world problem.

“Well I have a little foster brother, and he was born a premie,” Larson said. “And he had to be on oxygen, so we had a lot of struggles with the cords, everything tangling up. It was just a big struggle.”

That’s where the idea came from.

“Just making it so that it’s more accessible and not such a hassle to have to deal with oxygen cords tangling,” Larson said. “If we wanted to take our baby anywhere, we had to pick up this big heavy oxygen tank. It was just a hassle, so we wanted to come up with something that was more portable and just easier to use.”

Their prototype of a Bluetooth oxygen concentrator that takes the oxygen from the air and pushes it into the patient’s lungs landed them a Samsung Galaxy Note20 as well.

The device will go to their advisor on the project, earth and life science teacher Julie Richardson.

“It will be really cool,” Richardson said. “One of the things that we’ll be doing is some GPS-type things, so they can document what’s going on there, also any kind of experimenting.”

And they’re not the only group from the school to be recognized.

Another group is headed to the semi-finals, for their project aimed at replacing seeing-eye dogs.

“I have looked at this program for years, and we even started working on some with junior high, and it’s pretty tough at that age, and so seeing these girls go and working together to accomplish it, it is amazing,” Richardson said.

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