Gourdan Ramsay unofficially breaks New Tech’s pumpkin launching record

Ava Johnson, Staff Writer

The crowd watched in awe as pumpkins flew through the sky, and held their breath as the results of the farthest pumpkin launch was announced.

Each year, New Tech High @ Coppell hosts its annual Fall Festival for the community. This year, the festival was held on Thursday, and New Tech Networking Team Captains (NTC) members set up booths with fall-themed games to participate in, in between breaks of the Punkin’ Chunkin’ launchings.

New Tech junior Cooper Shultz is a member of NTC and was a part of the meticulous planning process.

“We’ve been preparing for a month by now, and NTC organizes and runs all of Fall Festival, but the rest of the school helps pitch in,” Shultz said. “The physics students set up the trebuchets for Punkin’ Chunkin’, LLC (Learner Leadership Council) does Haunted House and everyone runs their booth [as well].”

Shultz added the Fall Festival showcases New Tech’s unique learning environment.

“It shows off our Punkin’ Chunkin’, which is one of the bigger projects for physics students and it really shows how project-based learning takes it to another level, as well as showing off the schools and all the different organizations,” Shultz said.

The official school record for the farthest launch is 80 meters, but in order to break the record, teams must launch their pumpkin farther than 80 meters on their first attempt. Trebuchet team Gourdan Ramsay unofficially broke the record with a total launch distance of 90 meters on its second try, and Shultz’s team Lob Ross came just short of breaking the record, with a launch distance of 79 meters on their first try. 

Gourdan Ramsay included juniors Ethan Hartz, Tejas Bhatia, Abhinav Ala, Maanas Rastogi, and Sampadha Uppu. 

“For the calculations itself, we did a lot of different benchmarks and we had to calculate the initial velocity, the angle of rotation, and we had to make all of the different design measurements and make sure that everything balanced out,” Bhatia said. 

According to team calculations, it expected to beat the record.

“We were thinking it would go pretty far based on our estimations of it. At the best, [the farthest launch] could be near 150 meters, but sadly it didn’t because of bow bending and weight problems,” Hartz said.

While the Punkin’ Chunkin’ is the primary aspect of the event, families and members of the Coppell community enjoyed the food prepared by New Tech teachers and served by the students, as well as participating in the many games offered by the different booths.

Some of the different booths were a candy corn toss, face painting, cornhole, a photo booth and several others following a fall theme as well.

As for the food, students handed out desserts such as pumpkin cakes, Halloween cookies and cupcakes in exchange for the purchased tickets. Additionally, Mark Granado,  [email protected] Spanish teacher and the NTC co-sponsor, grilled burgers and hot dogs for dinner for the attendees.

Each year, New Tech seniors choose a charity to give back to, and this year’s choice is SafeHaven. SafeHaven is the only state designated family violence center in Tarrant County, and half of the proceeds from this year’s festival contribute to the charity.

“I love the real world application of the stuff that the kids learn, but also the fact that we’re able to throw this for the community is a great way for us to showcase what we do here,” [email protected] facilitator and NTC co-sponsor Nicole Smith said.

Another booth at the festival was the New Tech PTSO’s poinsettia fundraiser booth. Jennifer Bunting, in charge of hospitality for the New Tech PTSO attends the festival every year.

“Our PTSO raises money for all the activities that we do for the teachers and students,” Bunting said. “The best thing about the festival is that each NTC puts on their own booth, so they get to decide what they’re doing, what kind of game they want, and how they’re going to try to make money for the charity. That’s why it’s different every single year, because each networking group decides [each booth] every single year.”

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