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Blowing Rock School Wins Regional 3-D Printing in Third Annual Event Competition

Thirteen Schools from Throughout the Region Compete in Third Annual Event

Hickory, NC, March 21, 2018 – The North Carolina Center for Engineering Technologies (NCCET), a division of Appalachian State University, recently concluded its 2018 Direct Digital Manufacturing Competition and Blowing Rock School was recognized as the overall winner of this year’s event.  The Direct Digital Manufacturing Competition is open for middle schools and high schools in western North Carolina in an effort to create after-school clubs where student teams design, develop, and build a project to be judged and tested based on pre-determined criteria.  This year’s competition, sponsored by BULLWHEEL, LLC, was for competing schools to design, develop, and produce a working catapult that can launch balls towards a target with precision and consistency.  A total of thirteen schools, representing Alexander County, Burke County, Caldwell County, Hickory City and Watauga County School Districts submitted completed projects to be tested.

“It is always a pleasure to see these students and the caliber of work they produce. These projects allow students to fully immerse themselves into a design process that not only celebrates successes but sees the value in lessons learned from failures. I think this skill set is one that will reward the students involved and the local economy in the years to come.”, Paul Gantt, CTE-Engineering Instructor, Patton High School.

The Direct Digital Manufacturing Competition was started in 2016 as a way to engage students in 3-D printing and additive manufacturing.  Randy Burns, Engineering Technologist, with the NCCET, stated that “As this technology continues to evolve and grow it is important to engage the future workforce and prepare them for careers and opportunities that will exist when they enter the job market. We hope that this competition will spark an interest in engineering that will propel students to further training and education in this vital field.”

Winners of this year’s competition include Blowing Rock School (First Place – Middle School Division and First Place Overall); Alexander Central High School (First Place – High School Division) and Liberty Middle School (Runner-Up – Middle School Division).  Blowing Rock School was awarded a new 3-D printer for finishing first place overall and both Alexander Central High School and Liberty Middle School were awarded $500 cash prizes to use for materials that support S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) related programs.  All prizes were made possible by the generous support of John Wiley and BULLWHEEL, LLC through their sponsorship of this event.