Students make big splash in return to annual Great Cardboard Regatta

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NOV.16, 2022— The pool at the Pal-Mac High School is used to seeing competition, but on Thursday morning, it was the site of something that hadn't happened there in years. Thursday marked the return of the annual "Great Cardboard Regatta," a multi-round battle between engineering students in Mr. Jennette's class. 


The tradition previously was on pause throughout the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Their classmates packed the pool to watch three teams compete against each other in their cardboard boats, which were hand-designed and built by the students themselves. The boats are typically built up using just cardboard, masking tape, and latex paint. The entire event was live streamed on the athletics YouTube page.


The three teams were:

"Rocky the Crocky" : A crocodile

"The Tank": Just as it sounds, a tank

"Pikachu": Need we say more


Two teams competed in a race against one another, with a third team receiving a bye to the second round. The bye was granted based on the student's "flair" they wore in addition to the boats. In this case, Team Pikachu got the bye, as the students each wore yellow Pikachu hats.


Team Tank took the win in round one, with Team Crocodile falling apart at mid-pool. Round two then ultimately went to the tank, as well. We did mention there were three rounds though...


Round three became a strength test complete with the teams trying to "test the strength" of the other boat. As part of the test, students used water polo balls and the splashing of water to their advantage. In the end, Team Pikachu proved electricity and water do not match, as their boat fell apart, giving Team Tank the win.


As part of the victory, the team gets to place its name on a special trophy. When asked about taking home the win, members of Team Tank said they expected the outcome.


While the event itself is about fun and games, there is an educational backing to all of this. The students started working on their boats basically when the school year started. Jennette says before the students built the boats, they  started out with 3D scale models before building mockups of the final design.  


The regatta itself dates back to roughly 2009, and was initially a competition between Pal-Mac and Wayne High School.  Jennette says there were a few years where the competitions changed, including a robots battle, but ultimately the boats remained a popular idea.  He said Thursday's crowd was the largest he's seen.


"I just think it's a great event," Jennette said. "I'm just glad the kids showed up and had a great time with it."

Jennette's students will now take on a semester-long project aimed at identifying and solving a problem.


Special thanks to Mr. Schlegel for coordinating the live stream, and to Mr. Wahl and Mr. Scheik for providing the play-by-play for the stream!




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