The Great Gorilla Games hosted by Pittsburg State University is one of the most exciting days of the year for high school students who love technology. Students from several area school districts gather at John Lance Arena on the campus of PSU to compete in a wide variety of tech-related areas, ranging from CO2 car races and woodworking, to robotics and drone challenges.
“The students enjoy working on projects for Great Gorilla Games because they are different than what is normally worked on throughout the school year,” said Jim Rockers, Southeast High School technology teacher and SkillsUSA sponsor. “They like the added competitive aspect of the contests as well.”
Despite being more shorthanded than expected, Southeast High School students still took a top three placement in eight events. Junior Taylor Beckley took 1st in CAD Drawing Mechanical; senior Joey Friemel took 1st in CO2 Car – the 3rd year in a row a Southeast student won the event; sophomores Sailor Jackson, Jessie Jenkins and Julie Martin took 1st in Kinex Fun Park; and, sophomore Eli Newport took 1st place in Rubber Band Dragster.
Garrett Evans had a Rubber Band Dragster that performed very well in both distance and accuracy as well, earning him much praise from volunteers from PITSCO, a sponsor of the Great Gorilla Games.
But, in what Mr. Rockers called a learning experience for the freshman, by not having a quality journal about his entry Evans did not place in the event. Mr. Rockers said that is part of the challenge as well.
Juniors Jake Burns, Austin Hunt and Dylan Wilson took 2nd place in LEGO Cliffhanger Dream House; junior Eric Underwood took 3rd in CO2 Car; sophomores Jett Gall and Trenton Hartman took 3rd in Robotic Rescue Challenge; and, sophomore Noah Newcomb took 3rd in Woodworking.
“Gorilla Games is a good chance for young students in our CTE programs to compete locally in a variety of events,” said Brad Coots, Southeast High School technology teacher and TSA sponsor.
The Great Gorilla Games was held April 11, 2017 and is an annual event hosted by Pittsburg State University.