Mylene Tu, Jessica Doe, Aditi Kukreja and Franci Toth test their catapultMylene Tu, Jessica Doe, Aditi Kukreja and Franci Toth, seniors at Holy Names Catholic High School, test their catapult during the design competition Thursday at the Centre for Engineering Innovation.

Competition catapults high schoolers into world of engineering

With a tight deadline, Josh Balyo had to rely on his teammates to complete the project.

A grade 12 student at F.J. Brennan Catholic High School, he was on campus Thursday for the High School Design Competition, which challenged teams to design, construct and present a device to launch a ball at a target more than three metres away.

“There are too many things to do at once; you have to split up the tasks,” said Balyo. “Teamwork is being able to trust that others will do what they need to do.”

His team of four used the materials provided — craft sticks, tape, rubber bands, plastic straws, and clips — to build a model catapult they hoped would throw the projectile accurately.

“I learned a lot about the mechanics of catapults today,” said teammate Carly Jacobs. “I like solving problems that require you to think outside the box.”

That’s the idea, says Ben Levine, a third-year student of industrial engineering and one of the event’s organizers. Twenty-one teams representing 11 area schools took the day to come to the Centre for Engineering Innovation to put their skills to the test.

“It’s great to see the younger generation here,” Levine said. “Hopefully, they have fun but also spark an interest in engineering.”

Phoebe Xu, a science teacher from Maranatha Christian Academy, said her school likes to participate every year.

“We encourage our students to do this type of activity,” she said. “I want them to know the university, especially this building, which is so new and a wonderful facility.”

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