Apr 192013

A trip to MIT is one of many opportunities for students at Arizona’s only all-girls public high school after their invention was recognized.

Twenty-three high school girls in Jessica Horton’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) class at the Girls Leadership Academy of Arizona (GLAAZ) were delighted to learn last fall that they were one of only 16 schools in the nation to receive the 2013 Lemelson-MIT Program InvenTeam grant.

As the only school in Arizona to win, the $7,500 grant has helped them develop the prototype for a unique drowning prevention T-shirt for toddlers called the “WataWescue.”
Now 10 of the GLAAZ students – the core development team – will travel to the 2013 EurekaFest which is held at MIT (in Boston) to showcase the prototype to other STEM students, professors and industry professionals.

The Invention
The prototype continues to evolve through testing, but includes a light weight t-shirt for toddlers that automatically inflates if the child falls in the water. It also has an alarm to alert parents. Twenty-six students have split into individual teams to focus and finalize on each of the prototype’s components including Alarm Research, Garment Construction, Inner Tube Design, Logo Design, Communications and Public Relations, Trigger and Mechanics, and Finances. Numerous science, engineering and health professionals around Phoenix are advising the students and facilitating testing of the final prototype.
  * The name WataWescue was inspired by the speech of young children that often have trouble saying “Rs.”

Public School Tuition, Private School Opportunities
The InvenTeam project is just one example of how GLAAZ’s academic mission applies the work of the school to real life. Drowning prevention in Phoenix is significant to the students, many whose families have been impacted by near-drownings.

The school provides all students additional opportunities to participate in academic experiences more typical in a private school setting like free college courses beginning freshman year, numerous scholarships, public speaking, leadership development and more. The faculty are highly gifted instructors with a passion helping the young woman apply their schooling for ongoing academic success.

Enrollment for Fall 2013 is now open for young woman throughout the valley that are looking for focused learning, college prep, leadership development and scholarship opportunities. Call (602) 288-4518 or visit to set up a tour or learn more.

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