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Boat race tests RUSH design skills

July 25, 2012 - Clarkston High School senior Regan Haven hadn't considered joining TEAM Rush when she was younger.

"I didn't think it was my thing," she admitted.

When Haven went to her first RUSH Regatta at Deer Lake to support her sister and her team's cardboard and duct-tape boat race against others.

"This looks like a ton of fun," she said.

She decided to go to a few presentations and saw the process of the boat building.

"For someone who hadn't wanted to join Rush, going to the Regatta really helped me to understand what it really is," she said. "It wasn't just about engineering, math and science, which is a huge part, but it is about working together and becoming a team."

Haven is in her last few days of preparation as the RUSH Regatta quickly approaches on Saturday.

It is her third and final Regatta and she wants to win this year, or at least finish well.

Her opponents are also planning on a good finish.

"Our team really wanted to win so we went all out," said junior Ryan Hopper.

"We looked at last year's designs," his teammate junior Mitchell Petrimoulx added. "We looked at what worked well and what didn't work well. We decided we were going to build a canoe style like last year's winner. We took the design and modified it to make it better."

They also looked at the advantages and disadvantages of each boat from last year's boats.

Haven and her team also had to look at advantages but with each other's ideas of what would work best for their boat.

"My teammate wanted to do a canoe and I didn't know it would be a right shape," she said. "We worked together."

The students have four components for their regatta event - they get sponsors for the team, build their boat, get teams from FIRST robotics to participate and work with mentors and new students.

The teams call businesses for sponsorship. The money raised helps with dues as well as travel to tournaments covering costs to travel, lodge, and the entry fee.

"We traveled to Baltimore and it was a fairy tale weekend," added Kyle Hughes, TEAM Rush leader. "They got a taste and said let's do it again. They do get incentives towards their dues, too. The financial times are tough. Some kids didn't have enough money last year and the regatta helped their parents for their dues."

"We approached it head on," said Petrimoulx. "We contacted as many businesses as possible."

His team created a set plan of what they were going to say to businesses. They not only kept calling but also went to events like the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce mixers and The Clarkston News' Clarkston Coffee Club

Watch the cardboard boats as they take to the water in the fifth annual RUSH Regatta is this Saturday at Deer Lake Beach, 350 White Lake Road, at 12 p.m.

"It is a really interesting event," Petrimoulx said. "There are eight teams out there. It is not usually something that goes on. It also shows engineering and STEM curriculum is really important."

"We have been working all summer on these boats to make them the best we can," added Hopper. "Some of them are going to sink it is probably inevitable. It is still really fun to watch all the designs all the students thought about."

For more information, please visit www.teamrush27.net.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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