Lancaster County students compete in PennDOT innovation program

May 18, 2023 WGAL By Anne Shannon

MANHEIM, Pa. — Every year, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation invites high school students to take part in the “Innovations Challenge” program, with this year’s focus on the shortage of commercial truck parking along interstates.

While a team from Lancaster County didn’t win, they did capture the attention of the judges.

The students at Intermediate Unit 13’s Central Education Center in Manheim are problem solvers. When the high schoolers were tasked with figuring out how to fix parking issues, they jumped right in.

“A lot of our students struggle with the traditional academic settings, but STEM gives them a way to motivate and do their academics in a different way,” said Andi Fellows, a STEM teacher at IU 13.

“We went to different truck stops so they could see what the truckers had access to every day,” added Derick Tilburgh, an emotional support teacher at IU 13.

The students also talked to truckers about their concerns and decided to create an app for them.

“So they could have easy access to make reservations for parking spaces, they could see what was available,” Tilburgh said.

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