Student Success: Diya’s Big Win

Here at A Grade Ahead, we always love seeing our students succeed – whether it’s getting a question right in our small class sizes, doing well on our monthly quizzes, or taking A Grade Ahead knowledge into the real world. One of our favorite student success stories comes from Diya J., a former student at A Grade Ahead in Powell, Ohio.

Diya designed an innovative tool that could be used by teachers everywhere. She thought of a project idea, brought it to life, and won two prizes for her invention! She has competed against her classmates and even students from across the state of Ohio, putting herself on the path to the National Invention Convention competition!

Diya joined A Grade Ahead in 2nd grade, and she has taken both our math and English classes. She loves science, English, creating, and loves classes at A Grade Ahead (especially her numerical drills in our math curriculum)!


About the Invention

Diya’s creation, the All-in-One Magnetic Dry Eraser, is a small tin box with an attached white board eraser and room inside for storing markers and other tools. The multitasking device can attach to magnetic whiteboards, but there are plans in the works to enhance the design to work with non-magnetic white boards. Diya and her mother, Monika, have even started the process of patenting her invention!


Diya’s Student Success

Diya first entered her design into her school’s Invention Convention, in which she won 2nd place. Then, she went to the Ohio Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Competition powered by Invention League. This competition brought in over 450 students from all over Ohio, so needless to say, the competition was stiff!

There, Diya received the Education, Technology Systems, Tools, and Hardware Award! This award honors one student from grades K-4 and one from grades 5-8.

Diya’s success at the state competition earned her an invitation to the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneur Expo (NICEE), where students must present their projects to other inventors, parents, and judges. The national competition is by invitation only, so we are all very proud of this A Grade Ahead student success!

Testing and Development

The project developed over time, with Diya troubleshooting and testing with the help of students and teachers at A Grade Ahead of Central Ohio. At A Grade Ahead, we’re committed to student success, so when Diya asked for special permission to test her invention, we were happy to help out!

Diya first came up with the helpful idea after seeing her teachers struggle in the classroom to keep all of the white board materials organized and ready. Always a helper, Diya wanted to make a difference. Eloquently, Diya shared her inspiration:

“I saw in the classroom that my teachers either had their markers on their desk, lost, either like scattered on the floor. They would have to just borrow from another teacher. This device helps with keeping all those things in one place.”

So, Diya and her mom went to a craft store to bring Diya’s idea to life. Both mother and daughter laughed about how much fun they had making the project together. Diya loved cutting up the felt and figuring out the best places to glue the magnets. The natural trial-and-error with this project allowed Diya and Monika to have a lot of fun building together!

With the help of A Grade Ahead’s Teacher Manager, Nicole Acevedo, Diya and her mother knew just what to bring into A Grade Ahead of Central Ohio. Diya made feedback forms based on what she needed to know.

“I actually brought these forms to A Grade Ahead and we actually kept it in for a few days and the students here tried it out and wrote feedback, as well as the teachers, and so that helped me with my invention.”


Diya wanted to know what users liked about the design and what improvements were needed. Thanks to the feedback, Diya found some ways to improve the original prototype. Diya’s mother explained how helpful the A Grade Ahead feedback was:

“So she came here and then, people were like, ‘We can’t use it on the aluminum boards. It won’t stick.’ So then, she thought of… getting the sheet that would attach to the board so you could still use it.”

Many teachers provided feedback, which led to Diya’s plans for improvements on her project. She even added these improvements to her board as part of her invention presentation. The improved design, which Diya calls Prototype 2.0, will be quieter, able to attach to non-magnetic boards, and more user-friendly.

Competition Time

When it came time to present her very own project at the Ohio State Fair, Diya’s mother, Monika, felt that Diya was well-prepared for this moment. She thought one of the keys to Diya’s success was presentation and the ability to pitch a product and having the knowledge needed to perform under pressure and the three-minute time limit.

“She was able to verbalize an understanding of what she created, how she did it. Vocabulary [at A Grade Ahead] has helped in being able to communicate what she thought about it. She was more confident to answer the questions, because a lot of times when she comes here, a lot of times they ask questions – you know, you’re put in a position where you have to speak in front of people – so it definitely helped her be a little courageous and stand there and present to the judges.”


Diya won the Education, Technology Systems, Tools, and Hardware Award for her project and presentation. We are so happy to be able to be a part of this student success! When asked about any other future plans, Diya said she has a lot of dream jobs, including an archeologist or a dancer and even competing in the Olympics! When asked if she had anything else to share, Diya said:

         “Just that I’m really, really excited.”

We are so excited for Diya, too! From all of us here at A Grade Ahead, we are wishing Diya great student success and best of luck with the future development of her invention!

You can learn more about the Invention League and the Invention Convention Program here. Celebrate other A Grade Ahead winners by reading about our Math Kangaroo Winners! Or, check out another A Grade Ahead student success!

Has your child competed in any Invention Conventions? What competitions are your children interested in? Do you have any more questions for Diya? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Brenna Waugaman, Curriculum Coordinator at A Grade Ahead

Updated Author: Amanda Hutson, Curriculum Assistant at A Grade Ahead

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