Students head to state for design, drafting competition in late April

First and second-place regional winners head to ISU for Illinois Design Educators Association state-level competition on April 22


Allie Everhart

This year, MCHS will send five students to the Illinois Design Educators Association state-level competition on April 22.

Vanessa Moreno, News Editor

Five engineering students are heading to the Illinois Design Educators Association state-level competition on April 22 after placing either first or second in their regional.

26 MCHS students competed in the design and drafting regional in early March; seven placed in the top three. 

Jacob Jensen, Dominik Plancon, Lachlan Gardan, Connor Bunting and AJ Berwanger qualified for the state round at Illinois State University.

“I put [the opportunity] out to all my students as a ‘let me know if you’re interested,’” Russ Micklinghoff, industrial technology teacher, said. “I tried to get as many people that showed interest into some category, but it’s completely voluntary. It’s their call.”

The IDEA hosts competitions and professional development in areas of engineering each spring. The students won in Introduction to Computer-Aided Design, 3D Modeling, Machine CAD and Assembly Modeling.

“We used a 2D modeling program called Autodesk,” Bunting, second in Intro to CAD, said. “We had to model a shape that was given to us, but it had dimensions either missing or changed in the notes. The person who had the most correct dimensions would win.”

State will be the last level of the IDEA competition. Currently, students are honing their skills during AIM and other free periods.

“I’ve been doing a lot of the old state problems from previous years, which are available online,” Jensen, first in assembly modeling, said. “I also have been going into the engineering room … to get help from Mr. Micklinghoff, but it’s really just about getting more comfortable with the system I’m using.”

Micklinghoff said he likes to offer opportunities allowing his students to strive for something beyond the curriculum and showcase their skills. 

AJ Bertone and Paul Gill placed third in the regional but did not qualify for the state round. Ultimately, students saw the opportunity to learn as a rewarding aspect of competing.

“Like I mentioned, almost everyone is just happy to be there,” Jensen said. “We get to skip school, hang out with Mr. Mick, and go to some cool places … It’s also nice to know that you’re learning a practical skill, especially if you want to do something related to engineering.”