Clark Co. ATC’s First Annual Junkyard Wars
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Clark Co. ATC’s First Annual Junkyard Wars “This competition not only applies to the education and skills training the students receive, but to real life and what they will experience in work…” J.C. Harris, Industrial Maintenance Technology Instructor, Clark Co. ATC

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Clark Co. ATC’s First Annual Junkyard Wars

“This competition not only applies to the education and skills training the students receive, but to real life and what they will experience in work…”

J.C. Harris, Industrial Maintenance Technology Instructor, Clark Co. ATC

First Place Team, Grease Balls

Pictured from left, first row: Richard Clem and Heather Nicely. Back row: J.C. Harris, Wes Crowe, Nathan Hood, Marcus Jackson, Amberly Webster, Aaron Gilbert, Cassie McClure and Joe Norman.

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Second Place Suicidal Texans

Pictured from left, first row: Alan Christopher and Kyle Blevins. Back row: J.C. Harris, Dustin Fletcher, David Hall, Rob Landrum and Joe Norman.

Best Looking Entry Jumping Jacks

Pictured from left: Amy Pritchard, J.C. Harris, Amber Horton, Steven Bowles, Brandon Proffitt, Jeremy Golman and Joe Norman.

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The air around the Clark Co. ATC (CCATC) was filled with more than just warm sunshine and blue skies on May 16. That’s when the school hosted its first annual Junkyard Wars.

“I got the idea while watching the Junkyard Wars show for teens on television one rainy Saturday,” said CCATC Principal Joe Norman. “It struck me that we could have a similar competition and involve everyone at our school.”

The plan of constructing gliders with land based launchers came together with the help of Industrial Maintenance Technology Instructor J.C. Harris who helped compile construction information and sources for materials. Harris gives credit to all the CCATC instructors in doing this job and making this project a success. Those instructors are Phillip Burch, welding; Richard Butcher, carpentry; Bob Early, automotive technology; Harriet Wininger, health science; and Thomas Sprinkle, information technology.

Teams comprised of students from all ATC morning and afternoon classes had four days to learn about glider design, and then construct their entries using plastic foam, wood and tape as well as other “junkyard” items.

The fifth day was reserved for the competition. The glider that flew farthest without going out of bounds would be declared the winner.

“We decided to set up perimeters to increase accuracy. Entries landing out of bounds would be disqualified,” said Mr. Harris.

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Students learned about their assignment on day one, including rules and construction information. Teams were chosen along with their captains and official team names.

The captains were in charge of coordinating team efforts, procuring building materials, and scheduling the different school labs for equipment use and construction purposes. They, along with team members, also worked with the ATC’s resident flight “expert,” Automotive Technology Instructor Bob Early. He provided students with a physics lesson on the principles of flight, known as Bernoulli’s Principle (BP). Concerning flight, BP involves the shape of an airplane's wing. The the top is curved and the bottom is flat. Air travels across the top and bottom in the same time, so air travels slower on the bottom (creating more pressure) and faster on top (creating less pressure). This supposedly keeps the plane in the air.

The second day’s activities included finalizing sketches of each team’s design and putting together a materials list. Team leaders took these lists to the ATC “junkyard” to obtain supplies.

As construction began, ATC instructors were allowed to help only with equipment operation. Advice could not be given to any student regarding building procedure.

The third and fourth days were devoted entirely to construction. After completion, teams were allowed to store their gliders in separate locations in order to eliminate “espionage” and “borrowing.”

According to Mr. Harris, the purpose of the competition was to promote teamwork, design, and mechanical skills in a competitive environment. “We pulled students from each program offered at CCATC and placed at least one on every team,” he said. “This gave them the opportunity to learn about other programs in the school they may not have known about before. We were able to combine the efforts of all our classes and instructors to make this idea a reality.”

Bob Early explains Bernoulli’s Principle.

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Holly Spurgeon, a senior in the health science class said “I found out what other students learn about in their classes.”

“I liked it because I got to meet a new group of people and do something I wouldn’t normally get to do,” said Megan Miller, a sophomore and a health science student as well.

Each team would have two opportunities to fly their gliders in the competition phase.

On the morning of competition, students gathered all around the ATC making last minute equipment corrections and cosmetic touch-ups as well as conducting test flights.

April Townsend, an ATC student and VICA secretary, served as project coordinator and liaison. She made sure teams were in their proper places and flight information was recorded.

As teams finished their first try, they scrambled to make necessary repairs and adjustments before their last attempt. “It was exciting to see all the students working together to achieve a common goal,” said Mr. Norman.

The overall champion was determined by a “final glide” between the winners from the morning and afternoon classes, the Grease Balls and the Suicidal Texans. First place went to the Grease Balls with a distance of 48’9”.

The team consisted of Heather Nicely and Amberly Webster, health science, Wes Crowe and Marcus Jackson, welding, Cassie McClure and Nathan Hood, carpentry, and Aaron Gilbert and Richard Clem, automotive technology.

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“We started off with what looked like a boat and ended up redesigning the whole plane,” said Team Leader Cassie McClure. “I liked the fact that this event brought different skills to the table, skills you wouldn’t know about unless you participated in a project like this.” 

“Never count yourself out,” said Marcus Jackson, referring to their team being behind going into the second round of flights. “This was different because we worked with people who have different mind sets about what should be done. We had to come to an agreement by compromise.”

“It was fun to work with all the different people using their skills to build the glider and launcher,” said Wes Crowe.

Trophies were presented to the first and second place teams. Plaques were presented to the team with the best looking entry. This honor went to the Jumping Jack team with their classic biplane design.

Students and teachers were treated to a cookout after the competition.

“These students will walk away from this having learned and gained more than they think,” said Mr. Harris. “I went to a vocational-technical school when I was in high school and it changed my life. I hope it will do the same for them.”

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Good News Flash #28 May 30, 2003