Wabash Valley High School Students Compete, Gain Skills in Spartan Match

In a test of skill, teamwork and time management, more than 275 Wabash Valley high schools students from ten high schools competed in the second annual Spartan Match on March 8 at Ivy Tech Community College. Terre Haute North Vigo High School placed first overall with Shakamak High School coming in second. Tri Aerospace sponsored the event.

The event is designed to spark interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and to help build teamwork and critical thinking skills among participants. Teams selected from ten challenge tasks including “Sticky Situation” where they planned, designed and fabricated a bridge using wooden sticks or “Air Ride” where the team transformed a set of supplies into a hovercraft capable of multi-directional movement. First and second place honors were given to teams for each task.

Along with STEM skills, students learned “soft” skills.  “Industry has told us that they need a workforce that can work in teams and communicate well so we built those “soft” skills into each activity. Each task involved teamwork and an oral presentation to the judges,” said David Will, Dean of the School of Technology. Ivy Tech Technology students helped create eight new challenges for this year’s event as part of their capstone projects.

Tri Aerospace has sponsored the event each year. “We need young minds thinking about the future of science and technology. We have great career paths here for them if they go in that direction. For us this is an investment in the workforce of the future,” said Laurence Cross, general manager of Tri Aerospace.

“It was a very complicated task and we had an interesting result,” quipped Courtney Brown, freshman from Clay City High School. “We learned how to work together and to manage our time. It was fun.” In addition to a fun learning experience, students enjoyed a pizza lunch and received Spartan Match t-shirts.

The event has grown from 200 students from eight high schools last year to 275 students from ten high schools this year. “Spartan Match gives us a chance to connect with students and expose them to engineering and technology here at Ivy Tech. We also connect with area business and industry like Tri Aerospace and create a relationship to help meet their future needs. We look forward to next year,” said Will.