Eighty students take part in Skills USA conference in Grand Island
Posted on Mar 3, 2015by Jeff Bahr
Lots of mothers would shudder if they heard about a mousetrap that travels a great distance. In Skills USA, though, that would be commended.
Students in Skills USA are challenged to build three types of vehicles that are powered by mousetraps. Their creations are pitted against each other to see which is the fastest, which can travel the farthest, and which can carry the most weight.
In demonstrating their resourcefulness, students in Skills USA also work with straws, paper clips, wood and glue.
Contests in 10 areas were held Monday at the Skills USA conference for western Nebraska middle school students, held at Grand Island’s Career Pathways Institute. Eighty students from five schools, all in seventh and eighth grade, took part.
Representatives of Keya Paha County School demonstrated a great deal of ingenuity at Monday’s event.
Students from that school, located in Springview in the far north-central part of Nebraska, finished in the top three of all 10 events. Two 13-year-old girls from Keya Paha finished first in two of the mousetrap events. Charity Hunt, a seventh-grader, took the mousetrap vehicle speed competition. Eighth-grader Sage Miller built the mousetrap vehicle that traveled the greatest distance.
Rebecca Frick of Keya Paha built the bridge that could hold the most weight. George Cook, also of Keya Paha, won the Metric 500, a race that involves wooden vehicles powered by CO2 capsules. Teams from Keya Paha took the top two places in their PowerPoint presentations.
The bridges and vehicles were built in advance of Monday’s event.
“At the beginning of the year I told the students we’re the smallest school and our goal is to be the best,” said Jim McKenney, the skilled technical science instructor at Keya Paha County School. In setting the bar high, the students knew they had to work hard, said McKenney, who brought 16 students to Grand Island.
It was the third year in a row that the middle school conference has been held in Grand Island. The first two were at Central Community College. After Monday’s competition, the students toured the Career Pathways Institute.
The purpose of the conference is to introduce the students to Skills USA and “give them a chance to showcase their skills,” said Greg Stahr, the Skills USA state director. The organization also creates leadership opportunities for kids, said Stahr, who works for the State Department of Education in Lincoln.
Skills USA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce. Three retired engineers from CNH Industrial volunteered their time to the Metric 500 project.
If they retain their current interests, some of the young people involved could wind up working as an auto mechanic, carpenter, welder, engineer or machine tool operator, or perhaps working in the culinary arts, said Tony Glenn, also at the State Department of Education.
On Monday, students used straws and paper clips to build structures that could hopefully support a full can of pop. On one of the Metric 500 vehicles, CD discs served as wheels.
Adams Central finished first in the Quiz Bowl section of the event. An Adams Central student, Blake Hessler, took the Applied Math competition.
Mouse Trap Vehicle for Speed — 1, Charity Hunt, Keya Paha; 2, Alexis Rutar, Keya Paha; 3, Andy Meyer, Elmwood Murdock.
Mouse Trap Vehicle for Distance — 1, Sage Miller, Keya Paha; 2, Brandon Mundorf, Keya Paha; 3, Alli Baker, Doniphan-Trumbull.
Mousetrapster Vehicle — 1, Quinton Marcoe, Elmwood-Murdock; 2, Sierra Udd, Keya Paha; 3, Sydney Linse, Keya Paha.
Metric 500 — 1, George Cook, Keya Paha; 2, Carter McCarthy, Keya Paha; 3, Colton Munger, Keya Paha.
PowerPoint Presentation — 1, Keya Paha Team 1; 2, Keya Paha Team 2; 3, Louisville.
Bridge Building — 1, Rebecca Frick, Keya Paha; 2, Nate Krejci, Louisville; 3, Sam Johnson, Adams Central.
Technical Team Problem Solving — 1, Elmwood-Murdock; 2, Keya Paha; 3, Louisville No. 1.
Prepared Speech — 1, Carsen Knott, Louisville; 2, Micheala Franklin, Keya Paha.
Quiz Bowl — 1, Adams Central; 2, Doniphan-Trumbull; 3, Keya Paha.
Applied Math — 1, Blake Hessler, Adams Central; 2, (tie) Rebecca Frick, Keya Paha, and Logan Poppe, Doniphan-Trumbull; 3, Madison Koch, Doniphan-Trumbull.
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Artist of the Week for March 23, 2015, is Gerald Prewett, a third grader.
“Gerald was very creative in his formation of the mouse and mouse pad sculpture. He pieced together forms and used very striking and contrasting imagery to tell a story within the sculpture.”
Knights basketball pictures!