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Friday, August 19, 2022

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Students row into new waters on cardboard


High school students from all over the Houston area tested their engineering prowess in the Extreme Boating Regatta that took place Saturday in the Wellness and Recreation Center Natatorium.

Students ranging from ninth through 12th grade worked together in teams of four to pool their ideas and resources. They then competed by designing and building their own boats made of cardboard and duct tape over a period of several weeks.

At the competition, the teams sent out two of their members on the boat to see how quickly they could complete one 50-meter lap across the pool. First, second and third place winners were awarded with $600, $400 and $200 prizes respectively, with an additional $100 award given for best design.

The event, in its second year, was sponsored by the Houston-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, BP and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Craig Cassidy, the executive director of HLSAMP, said that the main idea of the event was to engage high school students to become interested in sciences. He explained that in preparation for the event, UH faculty members visited participating schools to discuss the basic principles students need to understand to construct a seaworthy vessel.

“It’s a really nice way for (UH) to give back to schools … It builds a good sense of community that brings in even more students to UH,” Cassidy said.

Hugo Castro, a sophomore from Porter High School, said that he liked the challenge the competition posed for him and his team members.

“I enjoyed working with my group, and I think that the outcome will be pretty good,” Castro said.

Juan Reyes, a member of Castro’s team, said that they spent much of the time reinforcing the hull with extra layers of cardboard to prevent leakage, and that it was a struggle to make it all work. Still, in the end, everyone seemed to agree it was worth the effort.

“We’re really into the project. It was an experience we couldn’t pass up,” Reyes said.


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