Gulliver Prep junior Antonio Goncalzes wants to help the poorer areas of Latin America by helping them gain access to clean drinking water. Goncalzes is a student in Gulliver’s engineering program and when the engineering groups were looking at new water filter projects he suggested they focus on Latin America.
“They have a water filter that goes to the African continent,” he says. “I wanted to concentrate on South America because I am from Brazil. It doesn’t get as much attention as Africa does, with so many health concerns there. Alot of people don’t understand that in South America, a lot of people suffer from the same problems.”
Goncalzes is looking at a design for an air humidity filter that would convert the humidity in the air into drinkable water, a concept ideal for countries that don’t have access to drinkable water.
“There are always a lot of projects with the engineering department,” he says. There many projects going on at the same time and each group designs their own prototype. Those designs are submitted and a winner is chosen to go forward.
“We’re very excited about getting this design going; it’s a unique concept,” he said. “It’s based on an idea of trying to harness another element in the community. We’re trying to find new ways to get drinkable water for these communities.”
Goncalzes says they’ll get a final design by January and build the model in the second half of the year.
“The idea of harnessing the air’s humidity for clean water has been done before, but we’re trying to make it portable and compact and have it available in people’s homes,” Goncalzes says, “not only to create water in the home, but to decrease the humidity in the home and thereby decrease the temperature in the home.”
Such a system would be perfect for areas such as South America and South Florida where the relative humidity is so high.
“That’s how we got the idea, from living here and being exposed to this much humidity,” he says. “It really opened our eyes to living in South America where there is more humidity and no access to air conditioning.”
This is Goncalzes’ first year as a student in engineering. He wanted to enroll in the program earlier, but it didn’t fit into his schedule until this year.
Goncalzes enjoys engineering, but he also likes math. Last year, he started tutoring other students for the math department. He helps fellow students in geometry, algebra, algebra 2 and calculus.
“I really love math and I try to tutor as often as possible,” he says. “If kids need help I can also do chemistry and biology.”
Goncalzes is a member of the Gulliver Business Club and will become chairman of the stock market group within the club.
“We’re going to try and start a class at the academy and teach students about the stock market,” he says. “Everything from the basics of the market to the affects the market has on companies and the economy itself.”
The idea is to have the younger students understand what the stock market is and how it relates to everyday life.
“It is a complicated thing to learn, but we’re going to try and keep it very basic and straightforward for them,” he says.
Goncalzes is looking at several colleges he has interest in attending, including Columbia in the northeast and California and Cal Tech in the west. He plans to pursue an engineering degree.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld