Park City High students take home awards for technology competition
Will Watkins and Graydon Russell spent a couple months working on their individual projects for the Utah Technology Student Association’s competition. Then, less than two weeks before the event, they decided to start on another project with student Hunter Way. It earned them second place in the engineering design category.
They were three of several students from Park City High School who competed last month. The school took home a total of four awards from the competition, during which middle and high school students competed in various subjects, all involved with technology. It was held at the Davis Technical College in Kaysville.
The project that won Watkins, Russell and Way the prize was a portable lab. The “lab” is a three-foot cube that individuals could use to collect data in the field or test how materials react to different climates.
Way came up with the idea and asked Russell and Watkins if they wanted to help him design and build it.
“It was last minute,” Russell said. “We were really amazed at how well we did.”
Individually, Russell also took home second place in the music production competition, in which he composed a song titled “The Eagle” that was inspired by the Apollo 11 launch. He used the music creation software GarageBand and other online tools to produce the song, which began with the original countdown sequence from the 1969 launch.
“I decided that I am into space and into science, so I designed my song to tell a story about something scientific,” he said.
Although he knows how to play some musical instruments, Russell said that he taught himself about composition and how to use the software last year, when he entered the competition for the first time.
“I basically sat down on a piano and started pressing notes until something sounded right,” he said. “It was a really cool experience and I definitely learned a lot by doing something I had never done before.”
Watkins won third in the future technology teacher competition for a lesson on how to use 3-D printers. He said that he had taught classes at the high school before, which made the preparation easier.
He was happy to receive recognition for what he loves to do.
“It’s one competition that takes those unique skills and recognizes them,” he said. “It’s so different from conventional high school recognition.”
“It gives credit to the kids that aren’t usually recognized,” he said. “It’s cool that you can get recognized as a high school engineer and designer.”
He said that it was fun to be with students who had different abilities in subjects such as music, literature, architecture and engineering but have them be tied together through a similar interest in technology. Park City High student Mercedes Howard placed third in the photographic technology competition, in which students use photographic imaging technology to create photos.
Russell and Watkins said that the competition is also valuable because it gives them hands-on experience with current technologies with their teacher, Jordan Ulrich.
“We come out of high school with a full portfolio,” Russell said.
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Park City High School students have had to adjust to remote learning once more after a spike in coronavirus cases forced the school to temporarily close its doors.