BERRYVILLE — For the second time, a team of students from Clarke County High School has won first place in the regional Widget Cup competition.
The problem-solving and design contest was held April 7 at the Shihadeh Innovation Center in Winchester. It involved teams of career and technical education (CTE) students from schools in Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties designing and building a product for a local business that sought to have a special object or tool developed for its use.
CCHS students participating in the event were Bailey Beard, Nick Boswell, Michael Combs, Colin Moran, Ava Schmohl, Bella Stem and Stephen Walker. Their coaches were CTE instructors Jim Draucker and Shanan Hambrick.
The students created a prototype for what they named the “Clarke Cart” — a cart designed to help older people attending an adult day care center do gardening activities.
Aluminum, acrylic and plywood were among the materials students in the competition were given to use.
“We had to design a product that would fit within the (size and material) parameters they (competition officials) gave us,” Moran told the Clarke County School Board during a recognition ceremony.
Still, there was room for students to incorporate their own unique design touches, Moran said.
The Clarke Cart contains three removable planter trays, lights, lockable wheels, modular inserts and a storage area. It’s 32 inches tall and 28 inches wide.
“All of the students were part of the design process,” Draucker said.
Before the cart was built, they had to design it using computer-assisted drafting software, he mentioned.
The students were “a multi-disciplinary team putting into action in the lab … what they learned in school,” said Clarke County Public Schools Superintendent Chuck Bishop.
Their science, technology, engineering and math skills were put to the test.
“It was neat for me, as a teacher,” Hambrick said, “to see their strengths … and see them work together better than most adults” she has seen cooperate.
“You guys did a great job,” school board Chairwoman Monica Singh-Smith told the students. “We’re really proud of you.”
Board member Andrew MacDonald added that they should be proud of themselves.
A CCHS team previously won the Widget Cup in 2018. The school has taken home the trophy in two of the three competitions in which it has participated, officials said.
Designed by a local firm, the trophy will be on display at CCHS until next year’s competition.
The Frederick County Economic Development Authority began organizing the annual Widget Cup competitions in 2015. However, competitions in 2020 and 2021 were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also recognized at the the board meeting were students who competed in a Future Chef Challenge Cook-Off held at Boyce Elementary School on March 31.
The competition was open to students in grades 3-5. Their culinary creations were judged based on originality, ease of preparation by children, healthy attributes, plate presentation and taste.
Fourth-grader Catie Cullinane, who attends the Boyce school, won for her purple pancakes. Mashed-up mixed berries made them purple.
Other competitors were Joselynn Tyler, a fifth-grader at Boyce who made ratatouille; Sarah Jane Simmons, a fifth-grader at D.G. Cooley who made a fruit pizza; and Renwick Richardson, another Cooley fifth-grader who made “The Goatwich” — an open-faced turkey sandwich incorporating goat cheese, bell peppers, cucumber and baby spinach. The peppers are used instead of bread.
The cook-off was sponsored by Sodexo, the firm that operates the school division’s cafeterias.
Johnson-Williams Middle School sixth-grader Kara Dulaney was also recognized. Her recreation of a Vincent Van Gogh painting was featured in a recent art show organized by the Virginia School Boards Association.