Three high school teams and one middle school team will travel to Houston for the competition.
Several teams of Henley students will travel to Houston, Texas, with their wind turbines next week to test their
engineering skills at the 2019 National KidWind Challenge. Three teams from Henley High School and two teams from Henley Middle School qualified for the national competition by earning the top two places in regional KidWind tournaments.
Students competing in the National KidWind Challenge will test their wind turbines’ energy output in four different wind tunnels; a high-speed, medium speed, low speed, and yawing wind tunnel. The students will also compete in two engineering instant challenges, a wind energy knowledge test, and judging interview. All of the components contribute to their overall score but ultimately building a turbine with the highest energy output is key.
The national event will be May 21-23 at the American Wind Energy Association annual tradeshow, Wind Power Conference and Exhibition. Two Henley Middle School teams placed first and second in the 4th – 8th-grade division at the Klamath Falls KidWind Challenge last month and qualified to compete at nationals in Houston.
The team of Jack Wooten, Jase Tchetter, Brasen Fossen placed first and the team of Carson Santos and Lane Vaughn placed second. Jase Tchetter and Brasen Fossen will join the high school teams at the competition. Henley High School engineering teacher and advisor Kristi Lebkowsky will travel with the students.
“This is an amazing experience for my students to meet industry professionals and present their work on a national level, Lebkowsky said. “Their hard work and dedication really show through in their designs.”
The Henley High School team of Sam Ellis, Avery Hirschbock, and Alex Sharp added an extra gear to the wind
turbine they used last month to win second-place in the Klamath Falls KidWind Challenge. They tested it in a wind tunnel set up in the hallway outside of Henley’s engineering classroom.
“It will go the same speed as before but it’ll have more power,” Ellis said. The three juniors are all first-year engineering students and named their team, The Prodigies.
They will be joined by two other Henley High School teams: The Patriots (Thys DeHoop, Dylan Huynh, Jeffrey
Hudson and Andrew Wilcher) and Full Throttle (Alyssa Michaelis, Grace Parker, Tim Orr, and Skyler Howard).
Full Throttle won the regional competition with over 40,000 milliwatts of power produced. The Patriots created their wind turbine with a 3D printer. After testing, they had to include small holes for spider wire in their blades so they wouldn’t come off.
“You can design something exactly how you want, but when it comes down to it, you have to change it and fix it as problems come up,” Thys explained. Dylan added: “That’s all part of engineering.”
This is the third year Lebkowsky has taken teams to the National KidWind Challenge. Four high school team members, Jeffrey Hudson, Skyler Howard, Tim Orr, and Alex Sharp, will not be able to travel with their team to
nationals because they are also part of Henley’s Baseball or Softball teams and will be participating in playoffs.
In 2017 and 2018, two teams each from Henley Middle and Henley High schools competed at the national level with the high school placing top 10 both years overall and the middle school placing sixth and seventh in judging in 2018.