For the annual Invention Convention at St. Louise De Marillac School, third-grader Jackson Schoedel had his sales pitch ready to roll.

“Do people steal things from your desk? If they do, you should really use my invention, the Desk Lock Down, or DLD for short,” he told visitors who stopped by his display during the Feb. 27 event. “It also keeps things from coming out of your desk. It features double-layer protection, with a desk cover and alarm system.”

Nicholas Lucadamo

Nicholas Lucadamo with his Leg Pain Destroyer

Good ideas abounded among the 48 projects completed by 97 students in second through sixth grades at the Upper St. Clair school, totals that represent considerable growth over the initial Invention Convention about five years ago.

“I had 13 projects and 26 kids, I think, my first year,” said Suzie Liebscher, curriculum director and enrichment class teacher. “We started by brainstorming problems with the kids, and then we went from there. The kids have all kinds of different themes and topics.”

A curriculum provided by Invention Convention Worldwide – a program that teaches students problem-identification, problem-solving, entrepreneurship and creativity skills – served as the basis for instruction. St. Louise students started just after Christmas break to have their projects finished and ready to display by the end of February.

Another invention by a third-grader was Nicholas Lucadamo’s Leg Pain Destroyer.

“I have really bad growing pains all the time, and I wish I could get rid of them. So I came up with this. It uses acupressure and smart materials,” he said, referring to fabrics that have been developed with new technologies to allow interaction with a user.

In Nicholas’ case, the Leg Pain Destroyer fabric allows for someone to use a controller with two buttons: “This is ‘rub’ and ‘ripple.’ They do what they say.”

The Leg Pain Destroyer, as he explained it, comes in three colors – black, white and tan – and sizes for children and adults, at a cost of $40.

All of that, and consider Nicholas is 8 years old.

“And I never use the internet to search for things,” he reported, “only books.”

As for the students who participated in the St. Louise De Marillac Invention Convention, the fourth- through sixth-graders went on to showcase their projects at Seton LaSalle High School, along with seven other area Catholic schools. A group of Seton LaSalle students, in turn, assisted with judging the inventions at St. Louise.


Harry Funk/The Almanac

Rachel Friday, left, and Bianca Hoffrage with their Brellabot

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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