High school teams competed in two different competitions at Moraine Park Technical College’s Fond du Lac campus. The Junkyard Challenge returned for a second year in the welding lab, with the first-ever Builders Battle taking place down the hall in the carpentry lab.
The race was on to produce the best functional welded creation from scrap metal during the Junkyard Challenge.
Supervised by Moraine Park Welding program instructor Jeff Beach and Metal Fabrication instructor Larry Clark, teams from Dodgeland, Fond du Lac and Slinger high schools welded sculptures in the theme of “Functional Machines,” displaying both movement and creativity.
First place went to the elaborately detailed crane constructed by the Dodgeland High School team of seniors Trevor Fischer, Jeremiah Hankey, Jessy Schuster and Casey Sell, who were accompanied by welding instructor Greg Kuhn.
Sell said he enjoyed “making something out of nothing. You have to focus to get the project done on time.”
The competition teaches team building under a time pressure, noted Kuhn. “They learn problem solving and coming up with a project by looking at the materials available,” he added.
Fond du Lac High School came in second with their train, complete with an engine, gondola, tank car and caboose. The team consisted of juniors Zach Rockow and Roberto Rodriguez and seniors Erick Martinez and Alex Schaefer.
“They learn teamwork and problem solving,” said instructor Bill Stangl, “and get to use the skills they learned in class.”
“It’s a great learning experience,” said Rodriguez.
An airplane made by the Slinger High School team of sophomore Robert Tackes, juniors James Fettig and Chris Mayer and senior Chris Retzer took third place. They were accompanied by instructor Tom Kiser, who noted that time management and making do with what they have were two of the skills his students learned from the competition.
Tackes enjoyed “seeing what everyone else can create” and honing his welding skills.
Just down the hall in the Building Trades Construction Worker lab, four teams from Fond du Lac High School, two teams from Central Wisconsin Christian High School, and one team each from New Holstein and Waupun high schools worked with wood and power tools instead of metal and torches to create a winning product under the supervision of Moraine Park building trades instructor Don Enders and retired instructor Jerry Schwengels.
The Adirondack table made by the New Holstein High School team of twin brothers and seniors Taj and Tylor Kuba took first place.
“I had fun building and didn’t see this event as a competition,” said Taj. “I just did the job and got it done.”
When asked how the competition benefited him as a student, Tylor said, “Teamwork, learning how to communicate a little better and critical thinking were involved.”
Second and third place went to the Central Wisconsin Christian High School teams of Mitchel Vree and Wesley Immel, and Nathanael Scheurs and Grant Kamphuis, respectively. The Fond du Lac High School team of Dalton Riner and Milo Dixon took fourth.
For more information about Moraine Park’s Building Trades, Metal Fabrication and Welding programs, visit morainepark.edu/programs or call an outreach specialist at 1-800-472-4554.