Hahnville High School engineering students win Earth Day regatta
By Kyle Barnett - May 10, 2012
St. Charles Parish Public Schools Satellite Center students Caleb Levy and Jake Noel won the 1st Annual Bayou Kayaks Earth Day Regatta boat race on Sunday, April 22 at Bayou Kayaks in New Orleans.
The Earth Day Regatta is a green boat-building contest and race. Levy and Noel were selected for the morning race and tasked with planning, constructing and piloting their boat across the finish line.
Rules for the contest required the students to construct the boat out of a minimum of 80 percent recyclable materials. Boats were not allowed to be constructed using hot glue guns or more than three rolls of duct tape. Wood was allowed in the boat construction, but only if it was used and not new. Also, 50 gallon drums were off limits.
Part of the purpose of the race was to raise awareness of how much plastic is thrown into our water supplies each year so many of the boats made liberal use of plastics that would otherwise end up in landfills or as pollution in the environment.
"(They) came in and gave us the rules, the ground rules, that it had to be recyclable," said Levy. "So we got some (water) jugs and we just duct taped them and zip tied them together to make a boat."
Despite being limited in their construction design by the rules Levy and Noel were able to make due and keep their boat afloat for the win.
Levy said he and Noel more or less designed their boat as they were constructing it.
"We just winged it," said Levy. "(Our competitors) had a pretty nice boat, but (the other school contestants) were younger so we had a pretty good advantage because we’re in good shape. We also had a good construction of our boat."
The event took place on Bayou St. John across from City Park in New Orleans across from Pan-American Stadium. Boats had to undergo a float test before they were allowed to race. The float test consisted of putting the self-constructed boat in the water for two minutes with its passengers sitting in it to ensure it would not sink once the students got out on the water and into the heat of the race.
The race consisted of paddling straight towards a buoy in the bayou and turning around and crossing the point where the racers started. The boat racers were judged on time, design and most creative use of plastic. Awards were given out for most creative design and best overall time.
The event was limited to students and area locals who wanted to participate. The winners received a free two hour kayak rental from Bayou Kayaks.
Levy said like other events the Satellite Center has their students do this one was hands on and involved construction and design that taught students about applying physics to real life situations.
"We make projects using physics. Learning things like building a bridge, roller coasters and we’ve made catapults and stuff like that," said Levy. "This was definitely one of the funnest school events."
Satellite Center students Destin Ryals and Ralph Wilson represented the class team in the afternoon race.
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