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Students build hovercraft as class project

By Molly Haines

Owen County High School teacher Rusty Willhoite’s Technical Design and Application class has kept busy this year designing and building a hovercraft.

The class recently completed the project, which was more than a year in the making and was a group effort by the class.

Owen County School Superintendent Mark Cleveland said seven years ago he toured several schools in Indiana that incorporated robotics within the classroom. Cleveland was so awed by the classrooms that he had an industrial arts room built at OCHS.

“I was very impressed by the classrooms we toured,” Cleveland said. “They were doing some really great things at those schools in Indiana and I thought it would be great to replicate that at the high school.”

Although the hovercraft only took one month to build, it took the class a year to plan and layout the design for the project.

Willhoite said the class incorporated aspects from many different areas to complete the project.

“The class had to draw designs for the hovercraft,” Willhoite said. “They also had to put the design together in a presentation with power point, they researched hovercrafts and each person had a different job. If one person was absent, someone else would do that person’s job along with their own.”

The students also learned about Internet marketing during the process.

Students in Willhoite’s class – Daphne Cobb, Russell Hudnall, Matt Gampfer, Sean Kennedy, Lucas Shelton and Danielle Honaker – all agreed that the most valuable thing they learned from the process was safety and different aspects of economics.

Cleveland said he was impressed by the students’ knowledge on the project.

“I went out to the high school to see the hovercraft and the students could explain each little detail concerning how the hovercraft worked,” Cleveland said. “I think it’s great that the kids are getting the chance to do things like this.”

Cleveland said although it took several years to get to the point where building a hovercraft was possible, he is proud of their achievement.

“It took us seven years to get to this point,” Cleveland said. “I say kudos to the kids and kudos to Mr. Willhoite.”