Gardner Edgerton High School has placed as one of twenty finalists in the Kansas City STEM competition. The grand prize winning team will be revealed at the awards ceremony on Dec. 4 at Union Station. Submitted photos

Gardner Edgerton High School has placed as a top 20 finalist in the Kansas City STEM competition. The public can go to to vote for their faorite entry by 11:59 p.m. Nov. 22, 2019. The public vote counts for 30 percent of the final selection. Armed with everything from banners and medals to popcorn and Silly String, crews loaded a fleet of “battle buses” and drove to schools across the Greater Kansas City area with a single mission: to surprise the top 20 finalist teams in the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains competition
The GEHS entry is titled, “Light Up Your World.” It focuses on color and light.
A record 7,250 students entered Kansas City’s largest STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) competition, in which schools can win grant money and a chance to inspire the next $1 million exhibit at Science City (
“We pulled up in front of each school, used our megaphones to get the students outside and literally rolled out the red carpet for them,” says Julee Koncak, foundation director, Burns & McDonnell. “Some students were so excited that their ideas could soon be an exhibit at Science City that they were crying with joy.”
Each top 20 finalist team is guaranteed to win a piece of $155,000 in grant money to use toward STEM education. The grand prize-winning team will receive a $50,000 grant, along with the opportunity to work alongside Burns & McDonnell and Science City STEM professionals to transform the winning idea into a $1 million permanent exhibit at Science City. Students in the competition have inspired five exhibits now on display at Science City.
“The number of students participating in Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains has nearly tripled since we started this competition just eight years ago,” says Ray Kowalik, chairman and CEO, Burns & McDonnell. “To me, that means the interest in STEM among Kansas City kids is skyrocketing and that makes me incredibly happy.”
The GEHS Light Up Your World entry says, “Color helps people see the beauty and majesty of everything on this planet and in the stars. Light reveals what is hidden in the dark and produces the amazing colors you see.”
The proposal utilizes pull levels, push buttons, color wheels, a blacklight tunnel, fireworks on an interactive screen, a giant prism tower, multi-colored lasers, special glasses to simulate color blindness. To learn more about the project or to vote for it, the website is