Engineering Students Compete in Punkin’ Chunkin’ Contest

November 3, 2017

Engineering students are getting ready for the Punkin’ Chunkin’ competition at West York this afternoon.

Seniors Andrew Ferg and Jason Weger are working on their launch mechanism. Photo by Julia Kelbaugh

The annual competition tests the accuracy of students’ trebuchets, catapults and ballistas by having them launch a pumpkin as close to a pin as possible.

Two separate groups from Susquehannock, one including senior engineering student Alec Kramer, have been working since the beginning of the school year in order to perfect their trebuchets.

Senior Andrew Foxwell works on the trigger. Photo by Julia Kelbaugh

“Throughout high school we’ve used the ‘design, build, test, evaluate’ process,” said Kramer. “The same basic process has held true even in a project like this one.”

Senior Andrew Foxwell makes sure that team two’s catapult is ready for launch. Photo by Julia Kelbaugh

According to senior engineering student Conor Custer, the students have decided to use a trebuchet rather than a ballista in an attempt to improve upon last year’s 11th place finish.

“ [Last year] We used a direct fire ballista which used springs instead of gravity,” said Custer. “That was pretty easy to replace because we saw from last year it didn’t do very well.”

Teacher James Rayburn directs the first teams project for some testing. Photo by Julia Kelbaugh

Engineering teacher James Rayburn has let the students test their trebuchets outside the high school this week, so they can determine whether final changes need to be made.

Rayburn thinks his students can be competitive at the competition this year.

“It’s just like a game day,” he said. “Anything can happen on competition day, and we have a fair chance.”

Teacher James Rayburn directs students on the exact calculations for the launch. Photo by Julia Kelbaugh

Regardless of Friday’s outcome, this competition has brought unity across many departments of the school.

“It’s awesome that our principal and school district support us,” said Rayburn. “The maintenance people help out by transporting and helping us load, and we get feedback from teachers in physics. It’s a great project.”

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