The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 5, 2013

VIDEO: Pittsburg State's Gorilla Games attracts 200 students

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Leif Elliott had worked since January on a trebuchet design for competition at the second annual Gorilla Games held Friday at Pittsburg State University.

“I got it all built and it was throwing perfect,” said the seventh-grade student from Neosho, Mo. “Then I got to school Thursday and it broke.”

So, at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, after his track meet, the youngster returned home and used extra pipe to fix it. He didn’t mind putting in the extra hours, as it was school work he was excited about.

“I just love building stuff and being able to compete by using my hands instead of on paper,” he said.

He was optimistic about it Friday morning as he and 10 other Neosho Middle School students waited with their teacher, Alison Demm, for his event to begin in the Kansas Technology Center.

They were among 200 students who competed in the Gorilla Games, representing 14 schools from Southwest Missouri, Southeast Kansas and Northeast Oklahoma. Many of them echoed Elliott: perfecting their CO2 cars, their robots, their rubber band-powered airplanes, all meant extra work beyond the school day — but it was worth it.

“All the work I did on my CO2 car was extracurricular, after golf practice, before school, Wednesday night until midnight,” said Kyle Loy, a sophomore from Frontenac High School.

“Having something racing that you built means a lot. It’s also fun to get to do this with other guys who like the same thing as me,” he said, as he assisted with the CO2 car races held on a 20-meter elevated track in a KTC hallway.

The competition, just in its second year, was the brainchild of Loy’s teacher, Eric Gudde, who a few years ago realized how expensive and time consuming it is for students from this area to travel to Salina for competition.

So, he worked with Mike Neden, who heads up the technology education program at PSU, to create the Gorilla Games. Per-student registration is $10 and no overnight stay is needed for any of the schools — they’re all within a drive of an hour or two.

Gudde and his students began working in August to raise money to cover the cost of food provided to competitors, and retired teachers, PSU faculty members and Neden’s own technology education students signed on to man the events.

Already, the Gorilla Games has doubled in size from the seven schools and slightly more than 100 students who competed last year, and it won’t stop there, Neden said. Next year, they’re taking it to the Weede Gymnasium and plan to stage it like a national event, with jumbo screens set up for spectator viewing, eight competition venues and “pit crew” areas for each competing team.

Additional activities, like the chance to do injection plastic at the KTC or drive a Baja car, will be scheduled for students in their off time. Community groups like model railroad clubs, radio control clubs and others will be invited to set up displays and demonstrations.

“We hope to have 600 students, and I don’t anticipate any problems achieving that,” Neden said. “They’ll come from Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas. We’ll have sponsorships, and the gym will look like NASCAR. It will be huge.”

Pittsburg High School technology teacher Larry Dunekack, who brought seven students this year, said he plans to bring 40 or 50 next year.

“This competition meets my curriculum so closely. And then we can bring them here and compare ourselves to other schools, which is a great opportunity,” Dunekack said.

Neden, whose job is to prepare his students to teach technology, said the event was a great trial run for them and also a way to recruit new students.

“We’re trying to recruit kids to the College of Technology,” Neden said. “And with our own students, this gives them a chance to prepare and run events and interact with kids. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Other competitions

Also held Friday at the same time and location were cabinet-making and photography competitions for SkillsUSA Kansas. Those intensely hands-on competitions, which organizers said dovetailed nicely with the Gorilla Games, also drew a field of high school students from across the Four-State Area.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Cancer patient’s drug, probation cases postponed ‘until further notice’

    A Joplin woman who is battling a rare type of cancer has gotten a temporary reprieve in her drug and probation cases so she can focus on her health issues, according to her attorney. Velma Crain, who appeared Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court, was facing the possible revocation of her probation after having been arrested last year on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance.

    April 15, 2014

  • Suspect in assault on officer apprehended in Texas

    The U.S. Marshals Service caught up with a suspect in Texas who was wanted in an assault on a Seneca police officer and alleged probation violations in Arkansas. Cody A. Rantz, 25, is being held in Collin County north of Dallas on warrants issued in Missouri and Arkansas. Federal marshals reportedly located the fugitive at a strip mall in Texas on Monday afternoon and took him into custody.

    April 15, 2014

  • Ex-Jasper teacher’s aide accused of sexual contact with student

    A former teacher’s aide at Jasper High School has been charged with having sexual relations with a 16-year-old student and is being investigated for possible sexual contact with other boys at the school. Janice L. Rusk, 43, was arrested Tuesday and charged with second-degree statutory rape and second-degree statutory sodomy following investigations by school officials and law enforcement.

    April 15, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Open a beer, chat with Tom, see his exhibit

    I like to think that I would have gotten along with Thomas Hart Benton. Sure, I’ve read that sometimes Tom (I think I can call him Tom) could be grouchy, and if someone said something stupid or acted like a jerk, he didn’t mind telling that person exactly what he thought of him. But hey, I grew up with people like that.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Neosho Ethics Board calls witnesses in complaint against council members

    City Manager Troy Royer on Monday night described what he said was an assault by City Councilman Steve Hart, and other incidents involving Hart and Councilman David Ruth. His statements were made to the Neosho Ethics Board, which is investigating a complaint filed against Hart and Ruth. Board members had described Royer as their key witness.

    April 15, 2014

  • r041514recycledfashion.jpg Joplin High School students to model ‘recycled’ dresses at fashion show

    Audrey Kaman will walk the runway later this week wearing a dress she designed herself — made out of 250 doilies. “I’d say it’s a fun dress,” the Joplin High School sophomore said. “It’s not really elegant because it’s short, but it’s cute.”

    April 15, 2014 4 Photos

  • Shooter in Joplin murder sentenced to life in prison

    The teen convicted of being the triggerman in the murder of Jacob Wages was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole. At a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin, Circuit Judge Gayle Crane followed a jury’s recommendations in assessing Daniel D. Hartman, 18, two life sentences on convictions for second-degree murder and armed criminal action, and 15 years on a conviction for burglary.

    April 15, 2014

  • Interchange construction work near Carterville to create safer off-ramp

    As the Missouri Department of Transportation begins rebuilding eastbound ramps at the Missouri Highway 171 and Route HH interchange near Carterville this week, drivers can expect ramp and occasional lane closures. The $1.5 million project, funded by the state, will increase the distance between ramps for drivers traveling northbound on Highway 249 and exiting eastbound to Highway 171.

    April 15, 2014

  • Commission awards contract for bridge replacement project

    The Jasper County Commission on Tuesday approved a contract for construction of a new bridge on County Road 48.

    April 15, 2014

  • moon 2 Julie Mi…ell Kruege.jpg SLIDESHOW: Lunar Eclipse turns moon red Globe readers sent in their photos of the lunar eclipse which could be seen early Tuesday morning in the Joplin area.

    April 15, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

In an effort to curb prostitution, St. Louis police are targeting, and perhaps humiliating, the "johns" who use the services. Postcards mailed to the homes of those charged with trying to pick up prostitutes will offer a reminder about spreading sexually transmitted diseases, along with listing the court date. Do you think this is a good approach?

A. Yes.
N. No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter