Engineering Now .: Volume 2 - Edition 9 .: March 29, 2006

Western Engineering Bonanza Day

By Erin Clifford

Local high school students attended Western Enigneering Bonaza Thursday, March 9, and designed a boat to stay afloat longest, holding the greatest number of pennies in it.

Honey, I shrunk the Engineers! No, wait - they’re high school students.

Thursday, March 9, 2006 marked this year’s Western Engineering Bonanza. 136 grade 10 and 11 students from 13 local high schools flooded the UES Resource Room and Spencer Engineering Building hallways during the day-long event.

After the high school students were treated to a broad overview of what Western Engineering has to offer, they were presented with a challenge: create a boat out of specific materials that will stay afloat with the greatest number of pennies in it.

Thirty-five Western Engineering volunteers were on hand to help the students with the concepts for their creations and to supervise the construction. Students were given either duct tape or paper to construct their boats. Their level of success took Western Engineering volunteers by surprise. Shouts of, “Does anyone have any pennies? We need more pennies,” were heard up and down the hallway as the boats performed better than anyone could have expected.

Laurie Belgrave Sookhoo, the Western Engineering student organizer of this year’s event, was thrilled with the success of the event and the students’ creations. “The kids were impressed. They had fun today. This event is such a unique opportunity for them to see the many different aspects of Engineering,” she said while surveying the room of bustling students. “Engineering has things to contribute to society. It’s great to see what we are capable of.”

The high school students and teachers were as equally pleased with the day’s event. “The students only had a limited scope of what engineering is all about,” stated Mary Rose Vanheule, a teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School. “This event gives them a much better view.” Katherine Gilbert, a student from A.B. Lucas Secondary School was very impressed by Western Engineering. “I knew there were different types of engineering but I didn’t know what they did. I feel like I know the difference now.” Her friend Amanda Lee thought that the day was “fun and informative,” adding that “the food was good. Mmm pizza!” When the girls were asked if they would consider applying to Western Engineering, they enthusiastically replied, “Definitely!”

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.: Allison Stevenson
Spencer Engineering Building, Room 2074
Telephone: (519) 850-2917 Fax: (519) 661-3808