Invention Pops Into Pupil's Head

Posted: February 19, 1989

When Kelly Forsythe's 18-month-old cousin, Sandra, caught a cold last year, she started coughing. But the baby couldn't suck on a cough drop because she was so small she might choke.

So Kelly, 12, of Gloucester Township, watched as Sandra's mother gave the baby a lollipop.

From that observation came one of those ideas so simple everybody wonders why nobody had thought of it before. Kelly created a national prize-winning invention, the cough pop, a cough drop on a lollipop stick.

But not right away. While her aunt's cure remained in her memory, the impetus for the invention was the Dr. Fad Show, a children's television show produced by CBS.

Agents for the show, produced in New York, had seen work by students of Nesbie Dupuy, who teaches gifted classes at C.W. Lewis School in Blackwood, at an invention and innovation contest sponsored by the state Department of Education in Trenton.

"My classes have entered the contest the past seven years and won many prizes," Dupuy said. "The Dr. Fad Show covered the contest in Pomona in August and CBS called me and asked if I had other students like the winners."

Well, of course she had, she told them, and went back to her classroom urging her students to start inventing.

"It was not a class assignment," she said. "The children were encouraged to come up with a creative idea."

The students were scheduled to present their inventions at a December interview and audition for the Dr. Fad Show.

Kelly, who is in Dupuy's sixth-grade class, decided she'd like to be on the show. She remembered her little cousin's cough.

"I thought, well, if she couldn't have a cough drop, why couldn't she have a cough drop on a lollipop?" Kelly said. "You know how sometimes you're sucking a cough drop and you swallow it by mistake? Well, in a baby it could get stuck. It could be for older people, too, who might have trouble with a cough drop."

She brought her idea to her teacher but, because she was having a family birthday party when the students were supposed to go to the audition, Kelly couldn't go.

"I told her, 'Don't worry,' " Dupuy said. "We'll send your idea to the Weekly Reader."

The children's magazine, published by Field Publications in Middletown, Conn., was holding a nationwide invention contest for students in grades kindergarten through 12. Dupuy sent in Kelly's idea.

It won top prize for inventions by sixth graders. Dupuy said she didn't know how many sixth-grade inventors there were, but about 100,000 entries were

sent to the contest.

Kelly and her teacher were each awarded $250, Kelly's in the form of a bond and Dupuy's as a gift to the school. In addition, the cough pop was granted a temporary patent and was displayed at the Feb. 11 and 12 Inventors Exposition in Washington. And Kelly will be featured in an April edition of the Weekly Reader.

But that is not where the cough pop ends. Kelly, the daughter of Kathy and David Forsythe, said she and her mother "found a recipe to make lollipops. So we're going to use it and melt cough drops down in the kitchen to make cough pops."

Kathy Forsythe said the family was contacting patent attorneys in case the invention proves marketable.

"We really don't know what's feasible until we talk to the lawyers. We're not going to rule anything out, yet," Kathy Forsythe said. "But a lot of people think it's a great idea." They are going to make the cough drop lollipops as a working model, she said.

Kelly is a member of the crafts and drama clubs at school and is an honor student. She wants to be a lawyer. And who knows? Maybe her schooling will be funded by an idea she had when she was 12 and her cousin caught a cold.

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