Morning Sun
  • Building blocks of education

  • Youngsters from as far away as Edna and Neodesha participated Saturday in the sixth annual Block Kids Contest in the Kansas Technology Center, Pittsburg State University.

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  • Youngsters from as far away as Edna and Neodesha participated Saturday in the sixth annual Block Kids Contest in the Kansas Technology Center, Pittsburg State University.
    “Registration started at noon and a lot of them came early,” said Dennis Audo, assistant professor in the PSU School of Construction. “We've got a very good turnout.”Open to youngsters in first through sixth grades, the competition required them to complete a building project within one hour. All received a bag of 50 Building Blocks, a small rock, a piece of string no longer than 12 inches and a piece of aluminum foil no bigger than 18 by 18 inches. The young builders could tear the foil in smaller pieces if they wished.
    “My hint to you is to use all your materials,” Audo told the contestants.
    Andres Castaneda, PSU construction management senior, has observed the contest for a couple of years and said he's always impressed by what the youngsters can do with the materials.
    “One of things is a piece of rock, and to us it's only a rock,” he said.
    “But the kids' imagination is amazing.”
    Parents were asked to leave the room so that their children would do all their own designing and building. Judges evaluated the projects and also did oral interviews with the youngsters about them.
    Prizes related to the construction industry were awarded for first, second and third place in each class, and an overall grand champion was chosen.
    Denton Carrico, Edna USD 506, won first place for the fifth grade and was also named grand champion. His additional prizes included a T-shirt, PSU hard hat and safety glasses.
    “You can't be too safe,” Audo said.
    Grade winners were as follows: First Grade, Hannah Sandford, first, RV Haderlien Elementary School, Girard, Brenna Stierwalt, second, Heller Elementary School, Neodesha, and Kai'ron Smalley, third, George Nettels Elementary School; Second Grade, Thaddeus Hignite, Columbia, first, Jonah Sandford, Haderlein Elementary, second, and Samantha Winzer, third, Lakeside Elementary School; Third Grade, Paul Moss, first, Lakeside, Jonah Hunziker, second, Meadowlark Elementary School, and Ethan Beane, third, Liberty View; Fourth Grade, Hannah Eckstein, first, Frank Layden Elementary School, Frontenac, Devin Kuhel, St. Mary's Elementary School, second, and Samuel Johnson, Galena, third; Fifth Grade, Denton Carrico, Edna USD 506, first, Dylan Beane, second, Liberty View, and Bo McDowall, third, Lakeside; and Sixth Grade, Natalee Brake, first, homeschool, Noah Sandford, second, Girard Middle School, and Lesly Bocanegra, third, St. Mary's Colgan.
    Bocanegra said that this was her first time at the competition and she enjoyed it.
    “I built a statue of the number one,” she said.
    It was Jonah Hunziker's third year at the event, and the second for younger sister Roary.
    “I made a bridge,” Jonah Hunziker said. “I think it's really fun.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The children's mother, Cheyenne Hunziker, said that her son gets a lot of enjoyment from building with LEGOS.
    “We'll definitely be back,” she said. “This is such a good program, and I love it that the college lets kids be part of something like this.”
    The event is sponsored by the National Association of Women in Construction Chapter No. 120 and the PSU department of construction, management/construction and engineering technologies.

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