Area high school students built and tested launching devices at Moraine Park Technical College’s annual Distance Challenge. The event requires students to design and construct a unique device that is capable of launching rubber balls, with honors presented to the team that achieves the greatest distance. The competition is hosted by Moraine Park’s Process Engineering Technology program and is held on the Fond du Lac campus. This year, teams from Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School, GPS Education Partners from Jackson and Mayville High School participated.
"Each year that we have held this competition, I've been impressed with the creativity shown by the students,” said Tom Roehl, engineering technologist instructor at Moraine Park. “This is an excellent project for high school students because it requires design, manufacturing and troubleshooting, all of which are skills that employers look for in skilled labor fields."
Jared Shaw, a sophomore from Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School, came in first place. Shaw used his machine, named Genesis, to launch the rubber ball 178 feet. The machine was made as a side project in his technology education class. John Ostermann, a technology education instructor from Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah, said that they are able to adjust class projects based on what the kids want to get involved in and, for Shaw, it was the Distance Challenge.
Jared Shaw, from Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School, came in first place at Moraine Park Technical College’s annual Distance Challenge with his machine named Genesis. Shaw (right) is pictured with his technology education instructor, John Ostermann.
Coming in second place, at 163 feet and 8 inches, was a team from Mayville High School and their machine named Roadrunner. Team members included Ben Wellner, a junior, and freshmen Justin Schlender, Tori Champ and Nikolas Giese. Dave Seiler, technology education instructor from Mayville, said the students had fun with the project, which was completed outside of their engineering class.
A second team from Mayville High School also participated in the competition, and their machine, “Wile E Coyote,” took third place at 135 feet. Team members included Andrew Nothem, junior; Weston Wiese, sophomore; and Tom Staehle and Michael Pasbrig, both freshman. This was the first year students from Mayville High School participated in the Distance Challenge.
Jon Squires, Austin Tackes, Aaron Steffen, Michael Crye and Ken Rochwite, all seniors from GPS Education Partners, took fourth place in the competition. Their machine, “Triton Tosser,” launched the rubber ball 90 feet. “Several of the students who are participating today are already planning on attending Moraine Park, so this is a nice opportunity for them to come and see the Fond du Lac campus,” said Bernie McCarthy, an instructor at GPS Education Partners.
This is the fourth year Moraine Park Technical College has hosted the annual Distance Challenge in Fond du Lac. In addition to the competition, the students also had opportunities to tour the College and talk with local employers, including Fives Giddings & Lewis and Kondex Corporation.
For more information on Moraine Park’s Process Engineering Technology program, visit morainepark.edu/programs.