Kansas students earn national recognition in KidWind Competition


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TOPEKA – Students from three Kansas schools earned national recognition for their knowledge of wind energy, including the design and construction of a competition wind turbine, at the National KidWind Challenge held last week in San Antonio, Texas.

The Kansas award winners:

  • Elementary National Champion
    Hutch STEM Blue
    , Hutchinson STEM Magnet School at Allen Elementary (USD 308)
  • Innovator Award
    Wind Chill
    , Dighton Middle School, (USD 482)
  • Judges Award
    Gerald La Turbina,
    Beloit Junior/Senior High School, (USD 273)

Also representing Kansas at the National KidWind Challenge:

  • K.O. CO. Windfighters, Centralia Schools (USD 380)
  • Turbine Turners, Oakley H.S. (USD 274)
  • Windstars, Nemaha Central (USD 115)
  • Wind Gladiators, Sterling High School (USD 376)
  • Fire Storm, Osage City High School (USD 420) – online participant

To qualify for the event, teams had to place first or second in their age bracket in their regional competition and first, second, or third in the state final. Scoring is based on turbine performance, a knowledge quiz, an instant challenge, and a presentation to judges in which the team explains its design process. Teams awarded the Judges Award at the state final were extended a special invitation by national organizers to participate in San Antonio event.

“KidWind is a fantastic hands-on opportunity that allows students to tinker and experiment with wind turbine designs. They experience the thrill of scientific discovery as their designs are validated through performance testing, and they hone their public-speaking skills as they present their turbine design to a panel of judges,” explained David Carter, Director of the Kansas Energy Program at K-State Engineering Extension.

The Kansas KidWind Challenge has grown from one regional challenge with 56 students in 2016 to six regional events with 196 student participants in 2022.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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