“Sitting through classes at Hopewell High School isn't exactly comfortable, especially if the student is taller than 4 feet 5 inches. The desks currently in use were patented in the late 1950s, and little has changed since.” (Markus Schmidt of progress-index.com)
In an effort to improve the condition of student desks at Hopewell High School, an ambitious group of students, led by an innovative and dedicated teacher named Andrei Dacko, represented one of only 15 groups in the country to win an InvenTeam grant from the Lemelson-MIT Foundation to create and present a new product of their own invention at MIT’s EurekaFest in mid-June 2010.
The new student desk, billed as an active-dynamic learning system designed to change the direction of education in the 21st century, proposes the possibility of several new features. All of these new features were decided upon based on surveys the InvenTeam sent to students, teachers, buyers, and custodians asking them what improvements they believed should be made to current desks. In order to build their prototype, the students actually built several different iterations; one with sheet metal, one with wood and tubing, one with aluminum, and another with PVC pipe. The students also brainstormed ideas to make the desk more ergonomic, user friendly, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective.
KSA Interiors contacted Andrei Dacko after reading an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch about the Hopewell High School InvenTeam. Using Kim's professional resources, the team received input from Gary Chin, President of Dauphin Human Design, the world’s leading office seating manufacturer, and the Industrial Design students at Virginia Tech. Delta Graphics in Chester, Dauphin, and KSA Interiors contributed seating and desk samples to the students so they could evaluate different product components. Will Frederikson, a retired mechanical engineer, also read about the InvenTeam and provided crucial support to the development of the prototype. Dacko says, “ Will’s timing couldn’t have been better. It was exactly the time in our process when we were in huge need of engineering support. Will truly helped us to realize our vision for the desk."
As the InvenTeam made final preparations for MIT’s EurekaFest, it was determined that a trade show booth would be an excellent way to tell the story of their invention. KSA Interiors worked with the InventTeam to create the text and graphics for the booth. Kim also recruited Larry Ragland, President of Mark Bric, and Wayne Nystrom, President & CEO of GraphicsGallery through their shared connection with the Virginia Council of CEOs. Mark Bric donated the portable display booth to the InvenTeam and GraphicsGallery provided the production of the booth graphics.
*Due to the confidential nature of the InvenTeam's desk prototype and design, no images of the desk will be shared.