First Kamiak Regatta a big hit with students, staff

By Brandon Gustafson | Oct 10, 2018
Photo by: Brandon Gustafson Ship Happens, captained by Meghan Bailey and Ashley Wang, after successfully planting their flag at the other end of the pool. They were the only team to successfully reach the other side.

The stands at the Kamiak High School swimming pool were packed with students and staff cheering on the competitors on Friday, Oct. 5.

No, it wasn’t a swim meet. It was the first-ever Kamiak Regatta, with students from Myola Shanholtzer’s Engineering 2 class competing against one another with handmade boats they designed for their latest course.

The catch, however, was constraints in equipment placed on the competitors.

“Their challenge is to get to the other side of the pool, cross the white barricade, and plant their flag,” Shanholtzer told the crowd. “They were given two rolls of duct tape and cardboard. That’s it.”

Each boat went at a separate time, so no bumping would take place, and each boat member had a wooden paddle and life jacket. Kamiak swim coach Chris Erickson supervised in case his assistance was needed.

The crowd was exceptionally energetic, especially for a first period class, and consisted of eight classes in addition to Shanholtzer’s engineering students.

“I actually had to turn some classes away,” she said.

Kamiak principal Eric Hong attended, along with assistant principals Stephen Shurtleff and Sean Monica, to present the first-ever Kamiak Cup.

The competition included four boats, which had to carry two team members across the pool.




#Ship Happens: Ashley Wang and Meghan Bailey

#The Love Boat: Maxim Tarasov, Vadim Sayapin, and Donovan Kong

#Phil Swift: Mikel Nelson, Daniil Dobrovolskii, and Anatoliy Bagniy

#KHS Victory: Vann Dreier, Alex Roberts, and Kevin Paulino



Ship Happens started off the competition, and ultimately Bailey and Wang were the only competitors to make it across the pool and plant their flag without sinking.

The Phil Swift boat did make it past the barricade in the middle of the pool, but took on too much water about three-quarters of the way across.

The crowd, extremely invested, laughed and cried out when the losing boats took on too much water, and gave loud applause to Bailey and Wang for succeeding right off the bat.

“I think that the event overall was a great success and fun,” Shanholtzer said.

She said her students were great throughout the whole curriculum, and after three weeks, each group’s boat was completed.

“The goal of this project was to use the engineering design process to build a vessel with very limited resources and time,” she said. “The teams discussed and came to consensus every step of the way, weighing the pros and cons of each action. After three weeks designing, building, and problem solving, each group created a vessel.”

Despite Ship Happens being the only boat to successfully cross the treacherous waters of the Kamiak pool, Shanholtzer maintains the curriculum and the first regatta were a huge success, noting how creative her students were throughout the entire project.

“While it is true that not all of the groups were successful in crossing the pool, they each walked away from the competition with experience and lessons learned,” she said. “While we are not able to go through a second iteration of the build, I have no doubt that each group could now make significant improvements based on their first trial, and could traverse the pool. I am so proud of these engineers and their drive and creativity with this project.”




Three of the four boats pre-competition. Only Ship Happens (in front) did not sink. (Photo by: Brandon Gustafson)
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