GREENVILLE — Greenville High School tech prep students held their annual balsa wood competition Friday in honor of National Engineers Week.
Representatives and mentors from Greenville-based civil engineering firm Mote & Associates were present for the competition.
Festivities started at 12:30 p.m. Students built crane booms attached to a floating platform placed in a small pool with winning designs able to support the most weight without breaking.
As in previous years, 41 GHS juniors and seniors were split into 12 teams, the goal being to create the lightweight balsa wood structure capable of supporting the most weight. Previous years’ students designed free-standing model skyscrapers that were then subjected to simulated earthquake conditions.
GHS students Nicholas Colby, Aaron Buchy and Matthew Karns won first place. Their structure held 5.7 pounds. Second place went to Mason Wykes, Makala Miller and Morgan Gilbert, whose structure held 5.4 pounds. Finally, third place prize went to Devin Shepherd, Nathan Fry and Foster Cole, whose structure held 4.2 pounds.
Jerry McClannan, principal engineer at Mote & Associates, was present for the event. McClannan and his colleagues participate in the competition each year, serving as mentors to the students taking part. Mote & Associates has been involved with the tech prep competition for about 11 years, according to McClannan.
“We do it to promote the engineering profession,” McClannan said. “And it’s rewarding to see these students come up with creative ideas and then really start to see the process of how something they designed translates to reality.”
Others present for the competition included Greenville Mayor Steve Willman, who read the proclamation declaring the week of Feb. 17 as National Engineers Week; Greenville Planning and Zoning Director Chad Henry; Darke County Economic Development Director Mike Bowers and Tamala Marley, workforce specialist at Darke County Economic Development
Chris Sykes is an engineering instructor at Greenville CTC, as well as an adjunct instructor at Edison State Community College. He teaches engineering at GHS along with his colleague and former student Adam Eberwine.
“This competition provides some good, real-life troubleshooting lessons,” Sykes said during last year’s competition. “It’s a time crunch, they know people are coming, and they’re going up against their classmates. In the real world, that kind of pressure can really get to you.”