Bolsa Grande Students Earn First Place at Engineering Design Competition

Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) students from Bolsa Grande High School won first place in the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) National Engineer Design Competition last month. 

The winning team included students David Chuong, Duy Pham, and Danny Vu, members of Bolsa Grande’s STEM Club led by math teacher Mr. Ryan Tonthat.  The Bolsa Matadors swept the competition, beating out 32 other teams, with their originally conceived and developed product called the “Document Organizing System.”

Their winning product was constructed of wood and 3D-printed parts and has the ability to organize pre-labeled papers categorically, alphabetically, and numerically using a scanner.  The three students were able to write code and create an algorithm for their original “DOS” invention using Arduino, an open-source platform used for building electronics. 

“Our students never cease to amaze us with their ingenuity and creativity,” said Dina Nguyen, Board of Education trustee. “The STEM opportunities students take advantage of today while in high school are building a path toward future success in careers like product design and engineering.”

In addition to product creation, the team also completed a technical interview, created a prototype poster, submitted a ten-page report, and pitched the prototype in front of a group of judges – placing first in each category.

The students will move on to compete at the state level at UCI in May. 

The Bolsa Grande High School STEM Club has been pursuing this dream for years now. Mr. Tonthat launched the club in 2010, and it has been eight years of trial and error, hard work and persistence. The club currently boasts 60 members, and Mr. Tonthat, who also teaches Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) at Bolsa, said he just opens the door and lets the students go crazy with creativity.