OKLAHOMA CITY -- As with any idea, it's a lot easier showing something that explaining it. That's part of the reason four local high school students had so much fun in downtown OKC. A photographer with a business called Newspin360 had Maribel Martinez, Gabrielle Coffee, Jesus Duran, and Amanda Sandoval posing with a project that's taken a year and a half to get this far. Maribel says, "there were times when I felt like we weren't going to make it."
Each of them is getting ready to graduate soon, but as juniors they came to a small set of downtown offices to brainstorm. Art Science Oklahoma is one of only a handful of programs around the world that forms and nurtures teams of kids to take an idea and make it into something. Gabrielle demonstrates their edible bottle project by melting one of them under warm water in the sink.
Maribel, Gabrielle, Jesus, Amanda, and another girl Esther DeVanne got inspiration from stunt bottles from the movies made of sugar. The also had a lot of conversations about the growing problem of throwaway plastics in the environment. They thought, 'why not make a bottle that could hold liquid and that would disintegrate quickly even if you didn't chew on it. "We did a lot of experimenting," says Gabrielle. "Then when that didn't work we'd go onto something else," says Maribel.
They tried different molds and sugars. The bottle they used in the photo shoot isn't their finished product but it was enough to win the ArtScience prize last year. They got a trip to Paris, France out of it. The project could have finished after a year but the students kept it going. Nathan Pratt, their project mentor, saw it become something more than just extra credit. "The biggest reward was learning how to work together as a team, and come up with an idea that would impact society.
All of them are off to college in the fall. But an idea that 'holds water' still binds them together. Someday more of us might actually be able to take a drink and eat the container thanks to a group of kids thirsty for ideas.