Cardboard boat races test for Palliser students

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Corporate News

Members of the senior high winning team from Brant Christian School take part in the weight capacity competition in Calgary.

It’s a test where students learn quickly whether they know their stuff or not.

Dozens of students from across Palliser Regional Schools take part each year in cardboard boat races, with the events providing a great opportunity for hands-on learning.

For some, it’s a race against time as they paddle their craft across a swimming pool or hold their breath to see if their efforts hold up in the weight capacity competition. For others, the end result is an impromptu dip, although a good time is had by all.

Judging is based on design, construction, safety, speed across the pool, and weight capacity. Students not only learn problem solving and the value of teamwork, but practical applications of important principles including: design; research and presentation; water permeability and construction; and buoyancy and displacement.

Six Palliser teams took part in the most recent event in Lethbridge, which was hosted by Chinook Regional Foundation for Career Transitions, along with the University of Lethbridge.

Four Palliser teams, all from Brant Christian School, competed in the Skills Canada Alberta event earlier in Calgary, which Cenovus Energy co-sponsored.

Brant’s team of Emilyann Lemieux, Abigail Emsheimer, Bethany Greidanus  and Evan Nauta brought home the gold medal in the senior high competition.  A school squad won the junior division in 2014, but this was its highest finish ever in senior competition.  This year’s winning team had placed second in the junior division in 2014.

Teacher Ken Kroeker has been taking teams to the event for more than 20 years, the past seven with Brant Christian School students. 

“I encourage Brant students to participate in as many inter-scholastic competitions as they can including Skills Alberta, Calgary Youth Science Fair, Lethbridge Science Fair and Science Olympics because they promote teamwork, communication skills, research skills, sportsmanship, and just plain fun,” said Kroeker, adding he always rewards the Brant contingent with a trip to an iconic Calgary eatery.

This year the school had 30 students sign up to draft scaled drawings of their unique boat designs. Teams which had the best designs and who attended all of the weekly meetings were picked to represent Brant.  Two extra teams tagged along, expecting only to be cheerleaders, but were able to compete when entries from other schools failed to show.

“As expected, they laughed themselves silly as each team's boat sank below the waves, and ending with a Peter's Drive-In treat just makes everyone feel happy,” said Kroeker.

The Lethbridge event saw two teams compete from both Champion School and the Carmangay Outreach Program, and one each from Picture Butte High School and County Central High School in Vulcan.

Although none of the Palliser teams brought home medals in Lethbridge, the Picture Butte’s entry did earn honours for Best Decorated Boat.