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SGI students discuss the cardboard boat races

Photos by Leesa Shelley All competitors with Mr. Shelley, Mr. Vogel and Mr. Bialasik

Photos by Leesa Shelley
All competitors with Mr. Shelley, Mr. Vogel and Mr. Bialasik

Photos by Leesa Shelley Josh Beres and Ethan Fisher

Photos by Leesa Shelley
Josh Beres and Ethan Fisher

Photos by Leesa Shelley Michael Spagnola and Joe Lupica

Photos by Leesa Shelley
Michael Spagnola and Joe Lupica

Photos by Leesa Shelley Ben Sullivan and Jared Hecht

Photos by Leesa Shelley
Ben Sullivan and Jared Hecht

By Elyana Schosek, Student Reporter

Before the holiday break, students at Springville-Griffith High School participated in the annual cardboard boat races in the high school pool.

Last week, we looked at the race itself and what goes into preparing for it. Now, we catch up with some of the students to hear why the enjoy this annual tradition so much.

Many of the competitors noted that the competition is an enjoyable way for the students to test themselves in their ingenuity.

Josh Beres mentioned the “sense of accomplishment knowing that our boat performed well after weeks of preparation, not knowing what was going to happen.”

According to Ben Sullivan, their work began with a lot of research, then the construction of a scale model which tested for flaws in their design. After modifying this accordingly, the students began building the boat itself.

“Usually you start with the bottom and the front,” said Michael Spagnola, a senior who took the class last year. “Then once you have them made and the size how you want it, you can build and strengthen from there.”

Spagnola and his partner, Joe Lupica, won first place in last year’s competition and were permitted by Shelley to compete again this year with a boat built in their spare time.

“I started at the high school in July 2016 and that summer, we hired Mr. Shelley to be a technology teacher here,” said James Bialasik, high school principal. “He started the boat races that winter and I have participated in all three since then.”

Partnered with fellow staff member Mark Vogel, Bialasik entered the day having no idea what their boat would look like, or even if it would stay in one piece.

This year, it was built by freshmen from the Intro to Technology class.

“The best part for me has been seeing how the event has grown both in terms of participation and in terms of ingenuity,” Bialasik said. “It was also great to see how many students wanted to attend the event to cheer on their classmates.”

Each group’s boat was designed differently. For instance, John Ettipio, a senior in the CAD/CAM class, said his boat “was constructed like a sailboat utilizing a keel. It sticks down in the water to prevent tipping.”

Ethan Fisher and his partner, Josh Beres, wanted to design the bottom of their boat similar to that of a pontoon boat.

In addition to researching for their design, the students were also faced with the task of coming up with some type of strategy for during the race.

“Our strategy racing was that when we entered the turn he would brake and hold his paddle in the water and I would paddle on the opposite side to maximize the turning radius,” explained Beres in regard to their turning.

After the competition, each group had time to reflect on things they would change if they were given the opportunity. Daniel Gernatt said he would make his boat “wider to make it more stable.”

Several groups faced issues with their paddle design in that they were too different.

“I would make both of the partners’ paddles the same size so we wouldn’t have to counter each other,” Fisher said.

“Usually if the partners have the same size paddle it works best so one person isn’t out-paddling the other,” Michael added

Ben Sullivan added that he would “make the boat more aerodynamic and take the corners faster.”

Beres said that he would change the design of the front of their boat to “a more rounded shape to allow water to flow around it easier.”

Spagnola said not many other classes allow students to make something they can actually use for a competition.

“Being creative and doing your research is a big advantage in this competition,” he added. Sullivan said he enjoyed “actually using the boat in the competition and having it be something I made.”

And what was the best part?

“I’d have to say actually racing the boats and seeing how what you made can perform in a real contest,” Fisher said.

(This is the second part of a two-part series. The first part ran in our Dec. 28, 2018 edition.)

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