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Carlynton Junior High team engineers device for first place in competition

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9:12 p.m.

A team of four Carlynton Junior High School students took first place in the National Fluid Power Association Fluid Power Challenge last week.

The competition, which consisted of 21 teams from schools across Allegheny County, challenged students to create a working crane device powered only by fluid.

The team was made up of eighth-graders Will Ford, Ian Kobistek and Becca Turske and seventh-grader Jonah Schriver.

Carlynton gifted-education teacher Mary Beth Veri said the team was tasked with building a device that would lift a block of wood off a table and move it along an arc pattern.

“I was really impressed with them,” Veri said.

The local chapter of the National Fluid Power Association gave presentations at local schools in March to teach students about the concept of fluid power.

Students were taught how to build a fluid-powered lifting arm and, at the end of the day, received a box of materials.

Students then had to build their fluid-powered device for the May 7 competition at the Greater Pennsylvania Regional Council of Carpenters building in Robinson. On competition day, teams received a box of the same materials and had to build a replica of their original device from blueprints and diagrams.

“They give you a whole new set of wood, and you use a portfolio,” Veri said. “Teachers are not even allowed in the room while they build.”

Devices are powered using a system of tubes and syringes of water.

Veri said Carlynton's team had 54 points. The second-place team had 48, and 11 teams didn't earn any points.

“Things happen,” Veri said. “Things break, things split, and you don't get any points.”

She said she was impressed with her students for making do with what they had.

“It's really exciting for the kids,” Veri said. “We were just a little school up against all those big schools. And they did it all on their own.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or

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