Monte Vista Newspaper | MVHS Seniors Receive Scholarships Through Dangerous Weed Program

RIO GRANDE COUNTY – The Monte Vista High School STEM program worked with the Rio Grande County Weed District to implement an educational opportunity for four seniors to work for a scholarship in Rio Grande County .

During Rio Grande County’s regular business session on Feb. 9, Rio Grande County Commissioners and Rio Grande County Weed District Director Armando Ross presented $200 scholarships to people older Chevelle Garcia, Hayden Oberrick, Chloe Hindes and Jessica Duran. The students worked under the supervision of Monte Vista STEM teacher Chris Vance to discover and create 3D models of some of the noxious weeds that can be found throughout the county.

Students rendered 3D models using a 3D printer as part of Monte Vista High School’s STEM program that could be used as teaching tools by the Weed District. Each pattern and design took a considerable amount of time to create, often attracting students during the Christmas holidays to work on the final products.

“These students had to do a lot to get here, and they did a terrific job in the end,” Ross said. Ross approached Vance about a potential partnership program for the senior class and the results were nothing short of fantastic. Ross plans to use the models to educate the public about the dangers of noxious weeds in the county.

“They really did a terrific job,” Ross said.

Vance said the students did the project on their own outside of class.

“To be honest, it wasn’t really a class. I have a 3D printing class, but I put this group together because of their different talents,” Vance said. “They all come from different areas of high school if you will, they were good at different things. Projects like this show them the hidden talents they may have. I learned a lot about the students and the different strengths they had.

Vance said at first he wasn’t sure they would be able to finish the project on time.

“It was quite an ordeal,” Vance said. “When you 3D print you can’t just make a blueprint, model it and then just let it go. I even had them come over Christmas break to work on the project and we sat there for days and days through different types of scenarios and different builds, and then we started accomplishing what we were doing, and everything started to fall into place.

“Everything is hand sculpted on the modeling software itself. They were all very different and it takes a while to extract the model from the software. He came out with good results,” said Oberrick senior.

The students received their scholarships from commissioners, Ross and Vance, and were thanked for their dedication to the project. Ross hopes to work with other county schools on future projects.

Ryan H. Bowman