Minerva will host Rube Goldberg state contest

By Thomas Clapper News Leader Staff Writer Published:

For the second consecutive year, Minerva High School has made school history, this year by hosting the 2013 Rube Goldberg state competition Saturday, Feb. 2, 10 a.m.

The competition and judging begins at 10:30 a.m., but the public is cordially invited to show up at 10 a.m. to see the contraptions prior to the judging.

The event, organized by Minerva High School's own Matt Leatherberry and science department, is free of charge to the public who arrive and show their support.

The high school's science department will have additional science related demonstrations set up that the public can view and experience. The Minerva National Honor Society will have a food stand inside, as well.

Last year, "Team Swag," Minerva's team of five honors class freshmen, won first place in the state contest and took eighth place in the nationals.

This year, Team Swag returns as honors sophomores and with a roster change. The team now consists of Dillon Dragomir, Rachel Hansen, Heath Goshorn, Hannah Foster, and Emmalee Carver.

Rube Goldberg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, sculptor and author who also held a degree in engineering from the University of California Berkley.

Goldberg created and perfected the art of "taking a simple task and making it extraordinarily complicated" through his drawings. In fact, Webster's New World Dictionary has an entry for Rube Goldberg that states "a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation."

Goldberg did not build the machines he drew; however, his cartoons have become an inspiration to aspiring engineers and scientists around the world.

An example would be a larger version of the popular board game Mouse Trap. Each step activates a new step to perform a task.

The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest each year has an end task--this year's is to hammer a nail.

Students build machines out of household objects to complete the task in less than two minutes. They receive points for theme and expressing the Rube Goldberg spirit, but lose points if the machine in any way demands human intervention or malfunctions.

This year, Team Swag's theme is Santa's Workshop and, as expected, includes several household items, such as hammers, a book, Jack-in-the-Box and more, even high heeled shoes. They have been working on their new machine since October. There is more than $800 in the machine, according to Sandra Dragomir, Dillon's mother and team advisor, and this machine comes apart in three pieces for easy dismemberment.

Also this year are two more local teams making a bid for the nationals including:

Minerva High School Freshman Honors team "The Kraken Crushers" consisting of Dominic Crowe, Michael Repella, and Turner Kaufman, advised by Tammy Crowe;

And last but not least, R. G. Drage's team "R.G. Drage-sters" consisting of Timothy Balash Earlenbaugh, Jared Smith, Tiffany Bachelor, Andrew Hess, Alex Curtutu, Cody Polos, Levi Grubb, Nathaniel Hein, Dalton Hodge, Benjamin Collier, and Nathan Pitre, advised by Michael G. Billig.

If Team Swag, The Kraken Crushers, or R.G. Drage-sters perform well, the nationals at Wisconsin await Saturday, March 16.

Feb. 2 will be a historic day for Minerva and its high school.

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