Competition highlights local tech students, features robotics and solar power

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Competitors from high schools in Johnson, Miami and Douglas counties were on the Johnson County Community College campus for the third annual Competitive Technology Event .

Dan Eberle teaches solar technology at the college. 

"(It's) everything you can imagine where kids are using technology to see if my idea is better than your idea, see if what I'm doing has a little edge over what you're doing and that just makes it ... it's what puts a spark in whatever project they're working on," he described.

Solar tractor pulls, rubber band powered flight and robotic competitions teach the students to solve problems on the fly -- even those they create themselves.

Joe Mikesic from Lawrence described his team's performance as "a lot better than we thought it would be considering we dropped the controller right before the round, so we fixed it."

The heat of competition teaches them the fine art of improvising.

"We took third place in that event and you know just with straws, tape and paper. You kind of feel like McGyver once it starts working," Cameron Reynolds of  Louisburg remembered.

The competition is good for the college as well.

"It also lets students see our environment which is one of the advantages, but the other thing it really does is it gives us an idea of what our pool of students coming in know and what they're interested in," Eberle said.

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