Now in its second year, Project Lead the Way coordinators Josie Collier and Christy Veach brought 35 students — twice as many as last year — from Minford, South Webster, Wheelersburg, Valley and Northwest to participate in the camp.
“Project Lead the Way is a curriculum designed to introduce high school-age students to engineering fields that they could potentially go into in college, and at the same time give them a chance to earn college credit,” Collier said.
The students attending the Gateway Academy, though, are middle school-aged. Collier said the purpose of the academy is to spark interest in younger students, so they will consider enrolling in the program when they reach high school.
“This week, we have built water rockets. We have created gliders out of balsa wood, and we’ve learned some three-dimensional AutoCad drawing on the computer. They have built towers out of paper and tape. They’ve built shelters out of newspapers, and they’ve built ice cream sundaes to learn the assembly line process. It’s a lot of hands-on projects,” Collier said.
Students were also given a tour of the CareerTech facilities by Superintendent Stan Jennings.
The program concluded Friday, when the students applied their learning to launch their water bottle rockets. Each plastic bottle has one liter of water inside. Then students pump them full of air — about 90 PSI. They stepped back and pulled the ripcord, and watched their rockets take off.
Students were paired off into about 10 groups at CareerTech on Friday, and each of them launched their own rocket to see who could make it the highest. Parents, teachers and students attending other classes at CareerTech swelled on the steps around the launch pad to cheer students.
This year’s winning team of students was Tate Coriell and Kathaleen Kuhn, both of Minford.
Jane Thayer said engineering has become a new passion for her 12-year-old son, Monte, who attends Valley School.
“This is one of those opportunities for him to meet new kids in the county and share in some really fun activities that also helps them learn more about some engineering concepts,” Thayer said.
Monte has enjoyed the activities with Project Lead the Way this week at CareerTech. His mom said he has come home every night this week and enthusiastically shared the things he did that day.
“We’re already in the process of ordering more rockets for the house, just for the summer,” Thayer said.
This is the second year Project Lead the Way has hosted its Gateway Academy.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.