Cost blocks N. TX students from showcasing cutting-edge invention

A group of engineering students at Coppell High School have worked for more than a year to come up with a new device to help special needs students learn.

They've earned the right to put it before some the biggest and brightest minds in technological innovation in Boston this summer – if only they could get there.

They say there's nothing on the market quite like their invention, but a lack of money is holding them back.

Gateways is a unique software program that keeps track of how fast special needs students are learning. It allows teachers to tailor it to each student -- tracking subtle improvements, nuances and advancements in learning.

The Coppell students have been chosen to showcase the program to entrepreneurs and professors at MIT in June.

"At MIT, there's a great collection of people who know current technologies and the environment we're working in," said Coppell High School junior Zane Erickson. "And they can provide great notes and insight into the project itself and everything involved in it."

However, the students are about $5,000 short and may not be able to go.

"This is a huge thing for us," said STEM coordinator Mike Yakubovsky. "I lose a lot of sleep over it, worrying."

Coppell will be competing with 14 other schools, presenting their inventions and will be visiting with Microsoft next week.

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