ROME, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – On Friday, October 14th, Students from the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES (OMH) Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program competed in the second annual ‘Engineering Wars’ at Innovare Advancement Center in Rome.

Tenth-grade students from ten schools across the state were teamed up and hard at work designing, building, testing, and then catapulting metal spheres with their ‘Sorting Mechanisms’ before a panel of judges from Trenton Technology. The team who could sort and launch their ball the furthest was the winner.

“Ten schools from across the state. It allows students to learn and make mistakes and compete. It’s really important.” – Erica Schoff, Principle P-TECH OHM BOCES

Erica says the P-TECH program started because of COVID-19 to keep students engaged during the pandemic. It is a free STEM program, designed to give students that do not normally have access to these types of programs a chance to participate. The first year was all virtual and special because students could see each other during that difficult time.

They worked closely with Trenton Technology, a circuit board assembly/manufacturer in Utica, who designed the program’s challenges and has been working with OHM BOCES for years. Mark Paciello, Director of Production at Trenton Technology says they first partnered with BOCES about eight years ago.

When thinking of this year’s challenge, they wanted to find a balance between what was achievable for the students to launch safely and something that would still be fun for them at the same time.

“It’s exciting to see the wildly different solutions the kids come up with. They think outside the box and as a team. It’s great to have this locally, any chance to inspire young minds is great” – Mark Paciello, Director of Production, Trenton Technology

Mark says that along with the Engineering Wars program, Trenton Technology also mentors students every year, “giving them insight into life” and will continue to work with Oneida-Herkimer-Madison (OHM) BOCES in the future.

Engineering Wars 2022 Winners:
1st Place: GST BOCES
2nd Place: Questar III BOCES
3rd Place: ITC Syracuse CSD

Anyone interested in finding out more about the P-TECH program can visit the OHM BOCES website, here.