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Kenai Middle-schoolers top KidWind Design Challenge


Fairbanks, Alaska—Pure Energy, a team of middle-schoolers from the Aurora Borealis Charter School in Kenai, 
topped the charts at the 2012 KidWind Design Challenge, a statewide competition that tests students’ ability 
to design a wind turbine that creates the most electricity.

The team produced 14,303 milliwatts of electricity, besting the 22 high-school and middle-school teams that 
participated in the challenge and taking first place in the middle school division. Team Turbie, from the 
southwestern Alaska town of St. Mary’s, won first place in the high school division.

“It is exciting to see youth from around Alaska excel at this competition,” said Julie Estey, business 
director of the at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Alaska Center for Energy and Power, which runs the 
competition. “Doing well in the KidWind Challenge takes a special mix of innovation, teamwork, creativity 
and tenacity, and the students should be proud of their efforts.”

Competing against youth throughout the state, students work in teams of four to create a turbine from the 
ground up. Teams design a base, then determine the size, shape, material and number of blades to maximize 
the efficiency of their turbine.

The secret however, says ACEP research technician and judge Kirk Hardcastle, was the gearing. “Top-placing 
students went the extra mile and added their own unique gear box to their design, which can really improve 
power production.”

Students must also create a multimedia presentation explaining their process and what they learned, which 
is scored as a part of the completion as well. Team Vertigo from Mt. Edgecumbe High School and The Smarties 
from Hoonah Middle School received awards for their presentations. Following is a list of teams that placed 
in the competition:

High school division

First place: Team Turbie from St. Mary’s School in St. Mary’s -  3, 512 mWs

Second place: Team Kwethluk from Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka – 2,736 mWs
Third place: LeBoom from Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka – 1,774 mWs

Middle school division

First place: Pure Energy from Aurora Borealis Charter School in Kenai -  14,303 mWs

Second place: Endless Energy from Aurora Borealis Charter School in Kenai - 13,953 mWs

Third place, tie:  Wind Devils from Tustumena Middle School in Kasilof, 9,158 mWs; and   
Smarties from Hoonah Middle School in Hoonah – 5,932 mWs (due to high presentation score)

Each winning team will receive a trophy a KidWind gift certificate for their classroom, and KidWind 
T-shirts for each winning student in recognition of their achievement. The following schools participated 
in this year’s competition: Aurora Borealis Charter School, Kenai; Hoonah High School, Hoonah; Mt. 
Edgecumbe High School, Sitka; Napaaqtugmiut School, Noatak; St. Mary’s School, St. Mary’s; Tustumena 
Elementary, Kasilof; William Miller Memorial School, Napakiak.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, at 907-474-7902 or via email at 
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