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DeKalb High School New Tech students win top spots in GIS competition

May 29th, 2019

KPC Media - The Star

DeKalb High School New Tech freshmen in the World Bio (world geography and biology) class of Christina Lapham and Kelsey Pierce won four of the top five spots at the 2019 Indiana ArcGIS Online Competition, “Mapping Indiana: Places, Landscapes & Stories.”

The students participated in the contest as a learning benchmark in a class project, “Start Primary, Become Extraordinary.” Throughout the project, students explored — from a geographical and biological perspective — how people and places originate in a simple fashion and become remarkable as well as unique over time.

Each group chose a topic that spotlighted characteristics of Indiana world geography and/or biology. Creating digital story maps using ESRI ArcGIS software, the students conveyed research with written material and digital maps.

To add to the authenticity of the projects, students were mentored by and collaborated with local GIS professionals, Matt Bechdol, president of Geo Silos; Dawn Mason, community impact coordinator of United Way; Jennifer Reilly, GIS coordinator for City of Butler; Jim Otis, retired GIS coordinator for City of Butler; and Steve Hook, Noble County GIS coordinator.

Winning groups explored a wide variety of topics from the opioid epidemic of the Midwest and renewable energy sources to notable inventions and the haunted history of Indiana. The Geography Educators’ Network of Indiana hosted the statewide competition and awarded $100 Amazon gift cards to the winners.

The state finalists are entered into the national ArcGIS Online US School Competition. National winners will be announced June 3 and will earn travel grants to attend the ESRI Education GIS Conference in San Diego, California.