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Lyle School wins top honors


Contributed Donna Sholtis

Wind challengers: Lyle High School students work on their project for the Columbia Gorge Wind Challenge. The team finished in first place; earning a trophy and bragging rights.

A team of students from Lyle School won first place in the Columbia Gorge Wind Challenge on May 2. Prizes include a trophy that will have a place of honor in the school and a full expense paid trip to OMSI for 30 students. In the one day competition, more than 40 teams from the Gorge and Portland competed to build, test and present their wind contraptions. Student teams were rated on strongest mechanical power, fastest speed for transferring kinetic energy, most electrical power generated and making a professional presentation.

The students on the Lyle Team and their science teacher, Donna Sholtis gave up weeks of lunch period and social time. Two senior students, Daniel Bliss team leader and blade designer, and Jacob Zeigler team manager and lead gear box designer, had participated in previous Wind Challenge competitions and mentored the other students in applying their knowledge of physics and engineering. According to Sholtis, "I am most impressed with my student's ability to mentor one another and their ability to be effective team players.  These attributes combined with their knowledge of blade and gear box design won this challenge."

The following roles and specialties were developed on the team; Elizabeth Smith – co- blade designer, Lauren Weddle – co-blade designer, Chawn Baukman- gear box designer, Gage Mattox- alternator assembler, Sebastian Lindinger- magnet assembler, and Jessie Hickman and Josh Showalter as alternates. Not only did students learn about the science of wind generation, but also project management, working as a team, learning through persistence and how to present in a professional manner. To top it off, the Wind Challenge was also the same date as Prom Night! Several of the students juggled hair appointments, and picking up tuxedos while they waited to hear the results of their high tech competition, and then danced into the night! It was a great day for Lyle School and reflects the work and dedication of the school staff, parents and community to support their students.

Jacob Ziegler, team manager, summed it up: "We as a team feel the competition was a very successful event and full of opportunities for educational development. We would highly recommend more schools to participate in this competition and are grateful for our opportunity."

And according to Community Engagement Specialist, Julie Larson, "We are very proud of our students at Lyle School. There may be better windmills out there, I don't know... but for sure... Lyle's entry was the best in this show!"


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