PVHS students work with TV star on White House sign
— Although Adam Savage may have achieved near-mythic status in the science and tech community, in person, he’s just a guy who likes to build stuff.
That’s what Perryville High School sophomores Adam Hazel and Cooper Wilcox found out when they recently got a chance to work with the Discover Channel’s “Mythbusters” star to build an interactive LED-lit sign for a White House event.
“He didn’t have some grand entrance like ‘Oh, Adam Savage is entering the building.’ It was just like ‘I’m here, let’s get to work,’” Hazel said. “I was like, ‘Huh, that was really anti-climactic.’”
Hazel and Wilcox, along with Perryville Middle School teacher Scott Dellosso and Perryville High alumnus Andy O’Neill, were just a few of the students and educators who came together on Sunday to help Savage build a sign for the White House’s South by South Lawn festival. The festival, which was inspired by the annual conference held in Austin, Texas, and celebrates American innovation, took place Monday.
The project consisted of creating 7-foot-tall S-X-S-L letters with LED lights that can light up different colors. And thanks to some coding, people were able to change the colors of the sign by tweeting the #SXSL hashtag and a color, Dellosso said.
Sunday’s build took place at the Digital Harbor Foundation, an organization that works to foster learning, creativity, productivity and community through education and is based in Baltimore. Dellosso, who runs both the Perryville Middle and High Destination Imagination teams, has worked with DHF several times over the last four years on technology
Several Cecil Countians worked with “Mythbusters” star Adam Savage on this sign, which was displayed outside the White House as part of the South by South Lawn festival. for the DI teams as well as on setting up a makerspace for the middle school.
That relationship with DHF led to an invitation to participate in Sunday’s build and as soon as Dellosso got the invite, he knew immediately who he wanted to bring, he said. Both Hazel and Wilcox are big fans of both “Mythbusters” and Tested.com, a science and tech website Savage contributes to, Dellosso said, in addition to being his “technical guys” for DI challenges.
The group spent four or five hours working on the build, mostly helping direct younger students at the “paint it black” table, which consisted of painting all the braces at the back of the sign black. Hazel and Wilcox also enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with O’Neill, who both know from DI and who now works at DHF.
But the highlight was, of course, meeting Savage, though their interaction with the TV star was limited to taking a photo, shaking his hand and watching him work.
“What I liked about Adam Savage is he’s not one of those people on TV or YouTube who talks about and acts like he builds things, he actually does it himself,” Wilcox said.
While the two haven’t yet decided exactly what they want in a future career, both know it will be something in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. But even as sophomores, the two are already off to a pretty good start.
“We can say, ‘Oh yeah, we worked with Adam Savage on building stuff for the White House,’” Hazel said. “So we can put that on our resume.”
Perryville High School alumnus Andy O’Neill, PVHS sophomores Adam Hazel and Cooper Wilcox and Perryville Middle School teacher Scott Dellosso pose with “Mythbusters” star Adam Savage, center.
“Mythbusters” star Adam Savage led a team of people, including several from Cecil County, to build an interactive sign to be displayed outside the White House.