NEWCASTLE West students are on course to see their unique multi-purpose white-board cleaner manufactured worldwide.
Gaelcholáiste Uí Chonba students Leah Barry, 14, Aine Upton, 14, and Muireann Ní Tobin, 15 took the top prize at Intermediate Level in the National Student Enterprise Awards in Croke Park.
Trading under the name of Teachers P.E.T., or Personal Educational Tools, the girls developed a multi-purpose whiteboard aid for teachers.
The device combines a whiteboard cleaner with a range of useful tools including a laser, a projector ruler, marker, calculator and extendable compass.
Their enterprise teacher, a “delighted” Donal Enright revealed they have made contact with a manufacturing firm in China, as well as a local company which will allow mass-production of the invention.
“A company in China is looking at developing it on a mass scale,” he confirmed, “One of the team members’ sisters, who was also an enterprise winner, is out in China at the moment. So she has approached one or two companies. And there is a local company here too which they have engaged with.”
Mr Enright - who won a special teachers award at the regional heat of the Student Enterprise Competition - said there was a lot of interest from other teachers at the final.
“There is nothing else like it out there. Okay, it is a whiteboard cleaner, but it is a whiteboard cleaner with a lot of extras. While the judges were impressed, there was great interest from all the teachers too,” he said.
Mr Enright praised the students, and pointed out that the lifelong friends have been working on the Teacher’s PET project for more than one year.
“This was the culmination of a lot of hard work, but it has paid off handsomely. We thought we were in the running for a prize, but to get the top spot is a great achievement.”
There was also success for other students in the county.
Ian Moloney, Adam Burke, Fiona Hogan, Christina Enright, all 16, and Maurice Lynch, 15, came up with a mobile telephone application to help students revise for the Junior Certificate Maths exams.
They took a merit award in the senior category for fourth, fifth and sixth year students.
Their teacher Richard Flannery said the ‘app’ had been downloaded more than 300 times in recent days “so there is a lot of life left in this project”.
“The competition has been fierce so we are delighted with the award. It has been a great learning experience for these students,” he added.
Heather Supple, of the County Enterprise Board which sponsors the awards, said: “there is a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit in the county.”