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Student from Longwood wins grand prize in competition

Hannah Verma named winner in Bright Ideas STEM from Today's Youth program

Hannah Verma (Photo courtesy of Bright House Networks).
Hannah Verma (Photo courtesy of Bright House Networks).

ORLANDO, Fla. – A student from Longwood has been named the grand prize winner in Bright House Networks' 2016 Bright Ideas STEM from Today's Youth program.

The multistate competition that is now in its second year challenges high school students to dream up inventions to make the world a better place, organizers said. To qualify, students must show how science, technology, engineering and math can bring their ideas to life.

Organizers of the competition said Hannah Verma, 16, from Lake Highland Prep took home the grand prize for her Bright Idea Verma Hygiene Mister.

Hannah and four other finalists from across the country competed Wednesday in front of a studio audience at the Finalist Pitch Event. Officials said all finalists received an all-expense-paid trip to Orlando, a full schedule of educational excursions, and received coaching and mentoring from noted STEM experts, business leaders and innovation firms.

Hannah now has the chance to work with product and technology innovation firm Astralis Group to build a virtual prototype and business plan, officials said.

"This competition encourages our next generation of leaders, inventors and entrepreneurs to take their ideas to the next level," said Kimberly Maki, corporate vice president for corporate communications and public relations at Bright House Networks. "Our goal is to see young innovators' dreams become realities that help their communities thrive now and well into the future. STEM offers tools to address many of the world's biggest challenges. This year's competition was extremely close. Congratulations to all of our finalists and all participating students across the country who rose to our challenge to change the world with the power of their bright ideas."