OGLESBY — High school students dominated the speed competition in the recent Edible Car Contest at Illinois Valley Community College. And while it wasn’t a record-breaking race, Hall High School took first place for the third year in a row.
The fastest car, designed and built by Hall calculus student Taylor Galassi, finished only .01 seconds faster than Ramrod II created by Megan Hewitt, Scott Urnikis, Ty Lenkaitis and Katie Goetsch of Putnam County. LaSalle-Peru and Area Career Center students Riley Stevens, Allie Dickey and Ross Weber, captured third place racing under the name Taters.
In what is designed as a team competition, Galassi was allowed to enter on her own. She had been sick and not able to meet with her team as they finalized their entry, but built a car in hopes of being allowed to test it at the contest.
While the speed contest continues to be the highlight of the event celebrating National Engineering Week, the 79 participants on 26 teams competed for prizes in nine other categories.
The overall winner was a sleek eggplant sporting a graham cracker spoiler built by IVCC math students Tim Negray, Amanda Littlejohn and Nicole Walker. They won firsts in three categories — creativity, most likely to run and a special math category — although they finished in the middle of the pack in speed.
The special math category, Schultz’s Scholars, was developed for students enrolled in Cynthia Schultz’s structure of number systems course.
This year, a record 16 high schools participated, with students from Henry-Senachwine entering for the first time. Henry students were advised by chemistry/physics teacher Becky Whited, Hall by math teacher Jill Bruner, Putnam County by science teacher Andrea Skinner, and L-P/ACC by CAD teacher Shawn Schwingle.
Judges were Paul Smith, Les Schultz and Carrie Gonzalez. The Student Government Association provided pizza.
Organizers were Dorene Verucchi Perez, Jim Gibson and Rose Marie Lynch.
In 2013, the contest received its third nomination for a prestigious Bellwether Award, a national award which recognizes outstanding and innovative community college projects. In 2012, IVCC was among ten finalists.
Contest organizers have written a how-to handbook and given workshops at a number of national conferences to encourage and assist teachers to organize contests as a fun way to provide hands-on experience for classroom content with students of all ages.