CES fifth-grader headed to state tech competition

At only 10 years old, Evan Jeanneret is already a technology whiz.

The Cartersville Elementary fifth-grader won first place in the fifth- and sixth-grade 3-D Modeling category for his Learner Chess project at the Northwest Regional Tech Competition Jan. 26 at Georgia Highlands College’s Floyd campus and will compete at the state level at the Georgia Student Technology Competition Saturday, March 10, at Middle Georgia State University in Macon.

Evan, son of Lara and Matt Jeanneret of Cartersville, said winning the regional championship “feels awesome.”

“When they said my name, I thought I was having a dream,” he said, noting he won a gold medal. “All of my work paid off.”

His mom said Evan has been “so humble and never expected to win any awards” at the district-level competition, held Nov. 30 at CES, or at the regional competition.

“He was happy to learn more about 3-D printing and work on his project,” she said. “He was in shock when they called his name at the award ceremony and didn’t stop smiling for hours.”

CES’s instructional technology specialist, Joe Crawford, said the fifth-grader deserved to take first place.

“Evan has worked very hard on this project,” he said. “He had designed several iterations, each one improving on the last one. He has spent a lot of time designing the chess pieces, and winning first place is something that is well-deserved.”

He added Evan is “very savvy with technology” and said he’s “asked him for help with a few 3-D drawings that I have worked on as well.”

Jeanneret said she and her husband are “so proud of Evan.”

“He has always been very interested in technology and has always had a very curious and meticulous mind,” she said. “Both of his parents work with technology — graphic design and network engineering — and he has always wanted to know as much as possible about everything he sees us work on.”

A member of CES’s tech club, Evan designed chess pieces to help teach his younger brother, Colin, a second-grader at Cartersville Primary, how to play the game, Crawford said.

“This project was very impressive,” he said. “Evan created a solution to a real-world problem — teach his younger brother how to play chess. When students can identify a problem and then develop a solution, they can create amazing things, just like Evan did.”

Jeanneret said her family took a 3-D printing class last fall at the Museum of Design Atlanta — where Evan has attended weekend classes and summer camps — and Evan “really loved working with Tinkercad,” the free online 3-D design program that he used to create his project.

Because he enjoyed 3-D modeling so much, he chose that category for the district competition and decided to create a chess set for beginners.

“I already knew a little bit about [3-D modeling],” he said, noting he entered the competition because he “wanted to try something new.” “It is also creative.”

Evan said he spent “probably” two months working on his project.

“It took a while because the first and second time, it wasn’t good enough,” he said. “Second was OK, but not all [pieces] were printed.”

With help from Crawford and his teachers at MODA, Evan was “able to have his creation printed on some pretty amazing 3-D printers,” Jeanneret added.

At district, Evan’s project was the only 3-D modeling entry for the fifth-and sixth-grade level so he automatically moved on to regionals, where there were seven other groups of students from 10 school districts across northwest Georgia, Crawford said.

But at the regional competition, Evan was pitted against 14 other fifth- and sixth-graders “so it was quite an accomplishment to win against that much competition,” Jeanneret said.

As he waits to compete at state, Evan said he is working on his project and “now making it better.”

“I will add better icons for the chess pieces so everyone can easily learn how to play and make a chess board,” he said. “I will also listen to people’s suggestions.”

Crawford said he thinks Evan has a “very good chance at winning at the state competition.”

“His project solves a real-world problem, and his 3-D designs are very creative,” he said.

Evan, however, is “a bit nervous” about his chances.

“I don’t know my opponents’ projects, so I’m not sure,” he said. “But when I won the regional competition, I knew if I believed in myself, I could do it. It would be awesome to win state.”

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