- The following article was written by Wantagh High School junior Kaitlin Pfundstein.
Forty Wantagh High School students took over the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Rube Goldberg devices in tow, for the Third Annual Regional Rube Goldberg Competition on Feb. 23.
A Rube Goldberg contraption is based off the drawings of cartoonist Rube Goldberg who took simple tasks and made them extremely complicated using household objects. Since the national competition started a branch on Long Island three years ago, Wantagh has taken first prize and traveled to the national level of competition held in Michigan for the past two years. This year, for the first time, Wantagh entered not one, but four unique devices.
While all the devices needed to hammer a nail as the final task, each team approached the task differently. The most distinctive differences were in the overall theme of each machine. “Lab Rats” had a science classroom theme, “Beach Party” had a beach theme, “Team Superstition” had a theme of breaking superstitions, and “Santa’s Little Helpers” had a Christmas theme.
Saturday's competition started at 8 a.m. with all the teams arriving at the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City and assembling their devices. Two hours and a captain’s meeting later, the machines were ready to be judged. Along with Wantagh’s four teams, Valley Stream Central High School and Newark Collegiate were in attendance, each with their own machine.
Each machine was allowed up to three runs, with one void and penalties for interventions or objects leaving the boundaries. After all the machines had completed their runs, it was time for the judges to deliberate. Riverhead schools, regulars at the Rube Goldberg competition, were unable to attend on Saturday and will present their machines later in March, so the scores were announced from the schools in attendance.
“In the past three years, Rube Goldberg has increased exponentially in Wantagh," said Kathleen Cahill, director of Wantagh High School's science department. "The kids work so hard building and problem solving their machines. Their creativity and ideas never fail to amaze me.”
Lab Rats, with team members Andrew Bloniarz, Tommy Korwin, Avery Kratzer, Perri Levine, Patti Meyers, Richard Meyers, Brendan O’Hara, Mike O’Hara, Jaclyn Onufrey, and Kaitlin Pfundstein placed first. Santa’s Little Helpers, with team members Zach Bindell, Christian Capobianco, Zach Diaks, Gene Gaffney, Larry Grief, Alyssa Kelly, Kyle Rhodehouse, Joe Rocco, Dylan Sampieri, Sam Sanpietro and Lindsey Stevens placed second. In third place was Beach Party, including team members Doris Cardoza, Kathryn Eckartt, Kelly Eckartt, Brendan Egan, Emily Fenter, Ariana Gagliardi, Sabrena Moreno, Maggie Tigue and Bridget Wiffler and in fifth place was Team Superstition with members Nate Annunziata, Tom Gifford, Brent Kavaler, Michael Pullman, Sean Whiteman and Anthony Greco.
“It takes so much time and effort to be in Rube Goldberg and the amount of time that we all invest in the club and in our projects makes the end result that much more satisfying,” said Onufrey, a junior.
The national competition will take place in Wisconsin on March 16.