Olathe high school hoping for repeat win in competition - KCTV5

Olathe high school hoping for repeat win in Science City competition

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Hundreds of schools in and around the metro are all competing for a chance to design Science City's next exhibit and to win $50,000.

Among those schools are last year's winners, Olathe North High School. The school's students asked the KCTV5 crew to keep a safe distance away from their idea book when we stopped by to talk to the defending champions. They aren't taking any chances with someone stealing what they consider to be a winning design.

"It's been overwhelming so far. We've been working on it every day, and every day we work on it we get to learn something new," said Cooper Yerdy, a junior.

The students have entered in Union Station's Science City Battle of the Brains Competition. The project had to be themed around one of three categories: human health, transportation or sustainability.

"We actually managed to span all three of the categories. We're pretty excited about that," said Olivia Haney, a senior.

If they win, the students get to work with the Burns and McDonnell Foundation, a local engineering and architecture firm, to create the newest Science City exhibit, which is something they've had a hand in before.

"We believe there is a lot more pressure for us to win this year because of how that taste of victory, and we really want to repeat that," Yerdy said.

Competition is stiffer this year. There are about 100 more schools competing. A big draw is that a part of the prize is $50,000.

"$50,000 is a lot of money," said teacher Rhonda Reist.

With the money they bought expensive learning tools that tight school budgets don't allow for. The students and their teacher said they want to win again, but not for the money.

"My desire to have the kids' project win is because I want the kids to get to go through the design and build a project again with Union Station, Science City and Burns and McDonnell because it was a learning experience unlike anything we could provide in a classroom, even with a special program," Reist said.

"It's really opened my mind to how interesting engineering can be, and it's making me want to be an engineer more and more," Yerdy said.

The students have to have their designs submitted at the end of the month.

A panel of judges select the finalists and then the public gets to decide who wins and who gets to have their design featured at Science City.

Click here for more information on the Battle of the Brains competition.

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