A racecar designed by Westglades Middle School’s SECME (South East Consortium for Math and Engineering) team took first place honors in the SECME Engineering Design Competition held in late June at the University of Alabama. Westglades Middle School is located in Parkland.
After netting first place at the Broward County Regional Competition, the three-member team, consisting of then eighth- graders Kendy Calixte and Malachi Webb and seventh grade student James McLaughlin, earned the right to represent Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) at the national final Engineering Design Competition, a highpoint at the annual SECME Summer Institute. The Westglades Middle School team received first place at the national competition based on a combination of their car’s performance, engineering drawings, technical reports and group interviews.
Teams were required to design and build a racecar that was small, lightweight and powered solely by a standard wooden mousetrap. Unlike the other cars designed by middle and high school teams, the Westglades car was a high-speed vehicle. It employed no fixed gears and its design focused on rapid acceleration and low friction.
“These students worked very hard on their design,” said Miderland Alexis, program coordinator at Westglades, “We knew they had a great design after our local competition, but we never dreamed we would be the national winner!”
According to Chris Kohnke, SECME coordinator for BCPS, “Thirteen middle schools competed locally in this design event. Students designed, built and demonstrated their final projects. The Westglades design was truly innovative.”
Westglades Middle School Principal Jack Vesey, said the win truly was a team effort. “Staff members Miderland Alexis, Miriam Niebla and Sheryl Arriola and the parents of the team members all supported the students’ efforts.”
SECME, Inc. is an alliance of schools, universities, science- and technology-based businesses and industries, and public and private agencies in 17 states, the District of Columbia and Grand Bahama that share a goal to renew and strengthen the professional capacity of K-12 educators, motivate and mentor students, and empower parents so that all students can learn and achieve at higher levels. SECME also supports STEM, a nation-wide initiative that focuses on Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics.