West Ashley High School (WAHS) recently displayed projects by its engineering students. It is part of the school’s wide-ranging Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. WAHS places great emphasis on college and career readiness.
Two of the students, Cooper Bennett, a senior, and junior Mary Stokes spoke of the school’s successful robotics program as a factor which led them to pursue careers in engineering. Bennett says he gets satisfaction out of making things. His project involving levers, pulleys and gears was on display. Made of lightweight material and only about 18 inches high, Bennett’s machine successfully lifted a heavy book bag.
Stokes discussed how she enjoys the teamwork involved in the robotics competition. She noted that WAHS received a trophy for superior teamwork at last year’s world championship competition in Louisville. She suggested that the school needs a new trophy case. “We’re running out of room for our trophies,” she said with a smile.
CTE student Edward Black, a senior, noted that the school is involved in a variety of engineering activities. He pointed to a display board showing a carbon dioxide-fueled miniature car competition, the school’s Flight Endurance Club, Trebuchet catapult competition, and a computer programing project using a “raspberry pi” device as examples of student-led projects. Black designed a device which can automatically dispense dog food into a bowl.
Junior Matthew Baumgarder is working on a real-world project which would benefit the school and areas everywhere with goose infestation problems. The school had put out a coyote decoy to deter geese from grazing at a nearby pond. The geese figured out that the coyote was not real and made their way back. Baumgarder is now working on a project to make the decoy mobile and program sound effects so it may serve as an effective goose deterrent.
Black and Baumgardner recently served as masters of ceremony at a regional robotics competition hosted by WAHS, which featured 32 teams from 17 schools. WAHS has already had all four of its robotics teams qualify for the state championship Mar. 11 in Columbia and the national championship Apr. 7 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Black, Baumgarder and Stokes all worked with younger students and students from other schools still trying to qualify for the upcoming competitions. Learn more about the robotics competitions at http://VexRobotics.com.