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Kirkwood High School Students Part of Grand Prize-Winning STEAM Teams

Kirkwood High School seniors Luke Ridenhour and Imani Noel were members of two student teams from the St. Louis area earning the S.M. Wilson Skilled Centennial Award.

The SKILLED Centennial Award was created to incentivize high school students to develop an idea and inspire other students to participate in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) educational projects in their community. Two associate teams from St. Louis CAPS (Centers for Advanced Professional Studies) were chosen as the inaugural grand prize winners. 

Luke was part of the “Buzzin’ for STEAM” team. The group plans to use the assembly of beehives to spark interest in ecology and engineering while also bringing awareness to the declining bee population. Other students from this group are Emir Mustajbegovic (Oakville), and Sierra Shackelford (Mehlville).  While students initially through the issue was local, they learned that bees pollinate 80% of the world’s plants. Scientists report the bee population is declining and believe they may be on a path to extinction. The Buzzin’ for STEAM project engages fellow high school students involved in environmental, ecology, and biology classes to build beehives. Specifically, the importance of a healthy ecosystem, team-building skills, and science and engineering learning.

Imani was part of the second winning team known as "Bloom Box." This group plans to use the construction and decoration of garden/flower boxes to empower groups of students to showcase the power of math, engineering and visual arts. Other members of this team are Tamia Miller (Mehlville), Emanuel Nieto (Fox), and Abby Williams (Affton). Building Bloom Boxes encourages students to beautify their campuses and create a safe environment for participants to express their creativity.

The two teams were announced and recognized as winners during the Missouri School Board Association Annual Conference in Kansas City in November. Each team received $1,000 to help their projects become a reality. 

St. Louis CAPS represents “the collaboration of education, business, and community, providing students with a unique, immersive experience, resulting in highly-skilled, adaptable, global innovators and leaders.” ( For the SKILLED Centennial Award, CAPS students in the strands of Global Business & Entrepreneurship, Technology Solutions & Logistics, or Teaching Careers In Education, submitted project ideas. CAPS also offers courses in Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing and Medicine Health Care and Bioscience.