For just a few hundred dollars, students at Seton Hall Prep [West Orange,
NJ] took a trip around the world…..via a high altitude balloon, often zipping
along at 40,000 to 45,000 feet in Earth’s atmosphere…..where commercial
This class at “The Prep” knows well the challenge and excitement of being an
integral part of a STEM team. Their teacher, Dave Snyder, an extraordinary
Science/STEM teacher and mentor, exemplifies student team leadership,
knowing how to harness enthusiastic participation from his high school
Since 2016, his previous student teams have done high altitude balloon
flying, but this team wanted to go for distance, and did they ever–around
the world. And they used Thomas Edison principles of problem solving to
help get there. His school’s STEM teams previously have taken top spots in
the high school division of past Thomas Edison Pitch Contests, a national
contest held annually, sponsored by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
Said Snyder, “We wanted to collaborate on a bold project that would excite
students during COVID; and we wanted to include the remote students.
Students at home and students in the class needed to collaborate and if they
didn’t, the project would have been a disaster.” Clearly it was a soaring
success! Snyder took some guidance from his father’s experience as an
executive. He managed and led this student team as though it was a typical
business effort, where the whole team must work together toward a
common goal. Basically, Snyder did exactly what Edison practiced with his
product development teams. When you have creative people, you inspire
them and get out of the way. Snyder’s students basically did everything
themselves, an amazing series of accomplishments for high school students.
There is magic happening at Seton Hall Prep, and Snyder certainly is in the
middle of it all, a modern version of Tom Edison.
Here is a terrific site to learn more about this incredible high school project
https://www.shp.org/shp-stem-balloons, with explanations and media. As of
this writing, the balloon is on its third trip around the world!
What college would not want these students as part of their entering class!
What company would not want incoming employees with these skills.