The entire Valley Christian Junior High (VCJH) student body has spent the past month designing and building their very own Rube Goldberg Machine, one that they hope will launch them into history with a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title.
“These junior highers are building a very complex piece of machinery,” VCJH faculty Nancy Franklin says. “It’s incredibly difficult work, but the learning that’s going on is also incredible. To see these kids and the faculty coming together to get this done is inspirational.”
The current record title is held by Scandiweb from Riga, Latvia, whose 412-step Rube Goldberg Machine kicked off their Christmas tree lighting ceremony in 2016. For VCJH’s record-attempt, it’ll be all-hands on deck to complete their 450-step machine.
“Our entire student body is participating in the building process,” VCJH Principal Brian Clemons explains. “It was important for us to not only break the record, but also get all 687 students involved and excited about STEM.”
The event will take place April 25th, with the whole school cheering on the machine as it sets off a continuous chain of linked experiments that will eventually release balloons from the ceiling. With so many moving pieces, the students know they are facing an uphill battle, but it’s one they are excited to take on.
“Even though it’s hard, the challenge is what makes it fun,” eighth grader Nathan says. “I’m learning how to build and put together machines, and also teamwork and new ways of seeing things.”
An official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS adjudicator will preside over the event to inform VCJH if they were successful in breaking the record, but Principal Clemons says they will celebrate either way.
“The GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title attempt is what’s important, and we hope it encourages other schools to try something similar. We’d love a little friendly competition,” Clemons laughs, “Ultimately, we want to send the message that engineering is for every student.”
Regardless of their success, VCJH knows it’ll be a day for the record books.
Congratulations to Valley Christian High School Sophomore, Ansel Austin, national winner of the Future Engineers “Two for the Crew Challenge”, sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Foundation and NASA. Ansel brilliantly combined two pieces of International Space Station (ISS) Crew equipment into one. His invention, the “Trillium Tool”, combines the functions of a hexagonal wrench and ratcheting socket wrench into one tool. Inspired by the shape of the Trillium plant, Ansel’s design is bi-directional, eliminates a traditional handle, and meets strict safety standards. As a reward for winning the challenge, Ansel’s Trillium Tool will be 3D printed in space on the ISS. He has also won a MakerBot Replicator Mini+ 3-D printer. In addition, Ansel has won a trip to Washington DC to learn about the history and future of space exploration. Well done, Ansel!
Click here to see NASA's official press release.
On Tuesday, December 12, Valley Christian Schools International Space Station (ISS) Program received a commendation from the San Jose Mayor’s Office. Valley Christian Schools President, Dr. Clifford Daugherty and the VP of AMSE, Danny Kim, were accompanied by a group of ISS students, teachers, and program mentors who proudly represented VCS on the council chamber floor.
During the award presentation, Councilmember Johnny Khamis stated that, through the Quest Institute, VCS expanded its program to surrounding schools, both public and private.
He went on to say, “To date, the students have sent 122 experiments to the International Space Station with 37 schools actively participating in their program. Thank you, Valley Christian Schools for engaging our youth in extraordinary opportunities and showing them ‘The sky is NOT the limit.’”
After accepting the commendation from Mayor Sam Liccardo, Dr. Daugherty stated, “These students, along with the schools we partner with, have put up more experiments on the International Space Station in the last five years than NASA.”
Special thanks to Mayor Sam Liccardo, Councilmember Johnny Khamis, and the entire City Council staff for this prestigious honor.
This year’s Christmas at the California concert showcased a groundbreaking collaboration between the Arts, Academics, and Athletics at Valley Christian Schools. Troy Gunter, VP/Director of the Conservatory of Arts was accompanied on stage by Eric Scharrenberg, VP of Athletics and PE, and Danny Kim, VP of AMSE. Together they spoke about the power of A3 and how their programs supported each other to empower our students to compete in the XPRIZE Competition.
The XPRIZE Competition, sponsored by Shell, challenges teams to map the ocean floor, all while competing for $7 million in prize money. The students from AMSE's Ocean Quest Team are the only pre-college aged team still in the running.
Students from the Ocean Quest Team were invited to the concert stage and recognized for their tremendous efforts. Danny Kim pointed out that “Unlike the Conservatory that has a stage to perform on, when the XPRIZE judges signed off on the last requirement, a couple of the kids clapped and that was our encore.”
At the concert, the orchestra debuted the world premiere of an original score, written by VCHS alumni Yuma Sung (’07), which provided a rich backdrop for the XPRIZE video, highlighting the team’s journey from the beta tests in the VC swimming pool to the semi-finals in the Atlantic Ocean. The team is eager to hear if they are through to the finals, which will be announced in March 2018.
More than 70 incredible teams submitted their thoughtful analyses, using crime data sets from real police departments in Baltimore, Seattle, and Cincinnati.
As the Best Overall High School winners, they will have an opportunity to share their recommendations with the Seattle police department! Additionally, each team member will receive a $50 Amazon gift card and commemorative T-Shirt.