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GHS student travels to Boston for National Leadership Forum

By Beth Hyatt
The Greenville Advocate

Many students dream of being able to travel during the summer while also participating in activities that allow them to showcase their skills. For one student, this dream became a reality.

Benjamin Gafford, soon to be junior at Greenville High School, attended a National Leadership Forum in Boston recently and was given the opportunity to experience a multitude of different workshops that gave him a closer look at the world of technology and engineering.

“The year before last, I was on the robotics team, and the teacher who was over it, William Champion, nominated me for this because we won second place at a robotics tournament for the state,” said Gafford.

While on this trip, Gafford was given the chance to participate in workshops that would demonstrate his ability to construct and use robotic equipment. The first day of the trip consisted of introductory speeches and settling in; the challenges began on the second day.

“We worked with circuit boards, programming and coding, working on helicopters and robots. Also, we did 3D printing and we had an innovation and design theme. We had to come up with an elevator pitch and a sales idea. We had to come up with statistics and all the little details like annual cost and profit,” said Gafford.

Gafford and his group developed the idea for a golf ball that could be tracked via GPS. Anyone who golfs understands the struggle and frustration that comes with constantly losing golf balls; not to mention the expense of having them replaced. Gafford’s team wanted to take this challenge and create an innovative solution.

“I’m proud of that idea,” said Gafford.

William Champion, previous electronics teacher at Greenville High School, recommended Gafford for this trip.

“I think about the students that might benefit from it. Then what I do is check their disciplines, their grades, and if they’ve maintained an A/B average, I will recommend them. (Gafford) had really good grades. Several people in the past have wanted to go, but most of them didn’t want to take the time to do the other stuff they had to do in order to go. But Ben took that very serious,” said Champion.

Gafford’s trip was an enjoyable one, but he especially enjoyed the programming and coding portions of the workshops. This field is one in which he feels he really stood out from the other students in attendance, and he was able to use more of his specialized skills. While in Boston, Gafford was able to take in a few sights around the area such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Quincy Market.