Students from McAllen’s Cathey Middle School have qualified for the semifinalist round of the national Christopher Columbus Award with their project — a Foot Pumped Hand Sanitizer Device. This makes them one of the top 30 teams in the nation. The Christopher Columbus Awards are a national, community-based science and technology program for middle school students.

The program challenges the students to work in teams of three to four, with an adult coach, to identify a problem in their community and apply the scientific method to create an innovative solution to that problem. Eight finalist teams and their coaches will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World to attend National Championship Week and compete for valuable U.S. Savings Bonds and the $25,000 Columbus Foundation Community Grant, plus a $200 development grant to further refine their idea.

Standing from left to right are Andres Flores, Columbus Team Coach Patty Luna and Irving Zarate. Seated are Krystal Villarreal and Valerie Deleon. Not pictured is Gabriela Flores.