(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Six teams had one common goal during the inaugural KidWind West Texas Competition held at Texas State Technical College on Friday, April 14.
Some middle, junior high and high school students from the Colorado, Floydada Collegiate, Hamlin Collegiate and Roscoe Collegiate school districts in West Texas competed for a chance to advance to the 2023 National KidWind Challenge in Boulder, Colorado, next month.
Hamlin Collegiate High School won the team title to qualify for the national event. Colorado Middle School and Floydada Collegiate Junior High School qualified for the junior high school championships by placing first and second, respectively.
Kathy Jackson, a project instructor with KidWind, said the goal of the regional competition, which she plans to host at the TSTC campus in Sweetwater on an annual basis, is for students to learn more about themselves.
“This allows them to work on the design and engineering of a wind turbine,” she said. “It will teach them how electricity works and how we use it in our daily lives.”
Billie Jones, a Wind Energy Technology instructor at TSTC, said hosting the event is natural for TSTC.
“We are known around the state for our program, and to have junior and high school students on our campus will lead to more opportunities for the college and them,” she said. “We are happy to be part of a positive experience for the next generation of leaders in the field.”
Jackson said TSTC brings a different aspect as a host.
“The students are able to talk to current TSTC students about their experiences in school and what they have learned,” she said. “The natural next step for the competitors is to look at college opportunities. They are able to get that firsthand during this competition.”
Kalissa Hinson, a coach of one of the two Floydada Collegiate Junior High teams, watched her students work together in building a turbine. It was a new experience for her and the students.
“This is something new for our district, and we wanted to teach them different programs,” she said. “This will show our students that there are different careers out there.”
Madison Pyle, an eighth grade student coached by Hinson, said she learned more during the event, but one thing remained as she watched her team’s turbine in the wind tunnel.
“It has been a stressful time getting it right,” she said. “I have learned a lot about this, and the best thing to do is to adjust and keep doing it.”
Redwan Chowdhury, an eighth grade student at Colorado Middle School, said it was the school’s first time to be part of a competition like KidWind.
“It has been stressful looking at the other teams’ wind turbines,” he said. “This has been a good learning experience for me.”
Nathan Jones, a senior at Hamlin Collegiate High School, said he hopes more students look to compete because the need for skilled workers in the wind industry is increasing.
“The future is our younger generation. They will have more options in the workforce when they graduate, especially in the wind energy field,” he said.
Jonathan Hood, the coach of the Hamlin team, said more companies are using renewable energy, which led him to bring a team to the event.
“This is the way the industry is going,” he said. “Renewable energy is going to be the way power plants are going to be powered. It is great to have our students leap into the future today by competing in KidWind.”
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.