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South Fayette Students' "Walker" Design Wins State Championship

SOUTH FAYETTE (KDKA) -- "This is the on-off switch for all the power. And then are the lights. You want to turn on the low beams by hitting that."

South Fayette High School senior Jacqueline Witwick shows senior citizen Bill Minkler how to use the "Life-Safer Innovations Walker" that she and four fellow students designed. They competed with 150 other teams in the Pennsylvania STEM Competition.

From October to mid-February they worked on a prototype, which won top honors in Allegheny County. Then in May, after working on it some more, they captured the state championship.

Their prototype caught the attention of Gov. Tom Wolf himself. But for the students, it was personal.

"Not only does our walker help the individuals who utilize it, it also aids those who care about those individuals," Witwick says. "A great many of us have someone in our lives we love and care about who use a walker."

An alarm goes off automatically if the walker is tilted. The STEM State Champions thought of just about everything.

"It's great what's happening," says South Fayette senior Brennan McCann. "I just hope it will be able to reach a lot of people."

The five students have each been awarded $2,000 toward their college educations.

A pair of senior citizens who tried it out, gave the walker two thumbs up.

"I wouldn't mind having one of these at home," says Marge Puchany. "May I have this?"

Walker user Bill Minkler has the same idea.

"Unless the other lady's first," he laughs.

It appears that Bill will have to get in line.

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