SME Foundation supports students' humanitarian efforts.

Press Release Summary:

On June 19th, group of 15 pre-engineering students from Calera High School, Calera, AL, will be "Children Changing the World," traveling to Clinic of the Angels in the Honduran Cloud Forest. Accompanied by technology education instructor, Brian Copes and Adam D. Williams, Certified-Prosthetics, and owner of Next Step, Inc., team will teach locals how to build 2 basic utility vehicles, and help Williams fit 15 local amputees with prosthetic legs that he helped students learn to design and build.

Original Press Release:

High School Students Design, Build, and Deliver BUV and Prosthetics to Poverty-Stricken Honduran Village

SME Education Foundation supports humanitarian community-based efforts of Calera High School pre-engineering students traveling to Honduras to teach locals how to build a BUV and fitting local amputees with prosthetics they designed and built.

DEARBORN, Mich., CALERA, Ala., -The power of people, the potential of technology, and the promise of innovation are driving SME Education Foundation to prepare the next generation of manufacturing engineers, and make a difference-beginning with children who are changing the world.

On Tuesday, June 19th, a group of 15 exceptional pre-engineering students from Calera High School, Calera, Ala. will, in fact, be "Children Changing the World," traveling to the Clinic of the Angels in the Honduran Cloud Forest. Accompanied by their technology education instructor, Brian Copes and Adam D. Williams, Certified-Prosthetics, and owner of Next Step, Inc., the team will teach locals how to build two basic utility vehicles (BUV), and help Williams fit 15 local amputees with prosthetics (legs) he helped students learn to design and build.

The students will be traveling under the auspices of Skilled Knowledgeable Youth (SKY). SME Education Foundation is underwriting domestic transportation costs as part of its community-based approach to transforming manufacturing education.

"We are impressed with the accomplishments of this Calera High School pre-engineering team. These students are learning to function in a complex world. They will be able to see first-hand how their knowledge of critical technical skills is helping to shape their lives and allowing them to help others, says Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation. "They've learned how to innovate, lead and mentor and we're pleased to support them."

The Calera High School students' Honduran experience is the subject of a film, "Children Changing the World," produced by James D. Chambliss, president,Magnolialand Entertainment, Fort Deposit, Ala., an Alabama-based film production company. "We plan to use the documentary to promote education throughout Alabama," said Brian Copes, "as well as using it as a marketing tool for business development, to attract both businesses and manufacturers to the state."

"Children Changing the World" takes middle and high school students into real world construction and mechanical skills. These Alabama students are bringing hope to Honduras, an impoverished part of the world, by creating vehicles that will improve their lifestyle at one of many villages the program has targeted. The initiative provides direction for innovative engineering projects where students can learn skills such as: teamwork, mechanics, engineering, design, Internet technology and research, CAD, and problem-solving.

After a guest told Calera students that third-world countries have some of the poorest people in the world, and due to the recent earthquakes and natural disasters lacked affordable advanced medical care and equipment, they realized they could radically change the lives of people. They were anxious to apply STEM skills learned in their pre-engineering classes and the hands-on experience of building a BUV for student competitions where they won awards over four years beginning in middle school.

Each of the parts in the BUV, named "The Eagle," is unique in its vehicle design. Its frame is made of threaded water pipe easily repaired with small hand-tools and because of its simplicity, replaceable parts always available. In this case, parts are from a 1989 Toyota Corolla built and sold all over the world. The diesel engine installed in the vehicles is reliable and its 14" rims are found on most small cars for tire or rim replacement if needed.

This all-terrain vehicle can be dissembled, shipped to anywhere in the world, and reassembled for use in places where transportation has never existed, the only means of transportation is by foot or rope bridges. A BUV kit being shipped to Honduras includes the fabricated frame made of threaded water pipe, a motor, transmission and front suspension. The Calera team will build two vehicles.

The 4-Wheel drive Eagle can be fitted with a tiller for preparing soil for crops, can be fitted with a drill mounted on the back of the tread-plated body to drill deep into the ground to find a water; can be fitted as an ambulance to help triage and transport injured in the case of disaster or illness, or be configured as a larger, bus-like version fitting 9 passengers.

Working with their instructor, the students researched the culture and geography of the area and found that many of the villagers have lost their limbs due to illness and lack of available medical care. As they developed their BUV they realized that some of the same technology could be used for joints in prosthetic legs and arms. They invented an inexpensive prosthetic leg using 1989 Toyota Corolla motor-mounts for both the knee and ankle joints.

About Industry Partners:

Community and industry partners supporting the Calera High School, "Children Are Changing the World" program include: A. C. Legg, Alabama Power; Alfa Insurance; Argos, Augusta Fiberglass; Birmingham Business Alliance; Britt Engineering; Central State Bank; City of Calera; Congressman Spencer Bachus; Dr. Baker Chambliss; Dole Foods, Magnolialand Entertainment; Martin-Marietta; Mass Communications; Scott's Jewelry and Pawn; Shelby County Office Manager, Alex Dudchock; Shelby Ridge Nursing Home; Project One Enterprise; Shelby Baptist Hospital; Skilled Knowledgeable Youth (SKY); SME Education Foundation; Tenn Chiropractic; The University of Montevallo; Toyota, Christy L. Travis; Unimin, and Watts Auto Diesel Service.

About Calera High School:

Calera High School, Calera, Alabama, provides an enrollment of approximately 900 students, grades 9-12, with a learning environment in which students can acquire skills to become productive and responsible citizens and enjoy successful careers. The school provides a positive learning experience through quality teaching, a safe environment, and curriculum that meets the diverse needs of all students. Their pre-engineering program offers opportunities for student scholastic achievement with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum. Visit: Calera High School.

About SME Education Foundation:

The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, preparing and supporting the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists for the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit SME Education Foundation at Also visit, for information on advanced manufacturing careers and, our award-winning website for young people.

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