As a follow-up from its successful regional awards ceremony in March, the organizers of the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? (WSCM) student video contest for the Chester and Delaware Counties were asked to nominate teams for the first annual statewide competition.
Two area teams – Springton Lake Middle School with Penn Machine Works and Lionville Middle School with ONExia, Inc. advanced to the statewide level.
The contest for our region was organized by the Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware Counties (MACC/DC) which is an initiative of the Chester County Economic Development Council and Delaware County Community College.
In all, teams representing 22 school districts from across Pennsylvania were invited by Governor Wolf, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin and the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak to the ceremony.
The teams, which consisted of middle-school students who explored manufacturing careers and produced video profiles of their manufacturing partner companies, gathered at the Forum Auditorium in Harrisburg for the announcement of the winners.
The winners of the first annual statewide WSCM contest, and the manufacturers that were the subjects of the videos, were:
- First place: Bethlehem Northeast Middle School, Northampton County, documenting Atlas Machining & Welding, Inc.
- Second place: Wilson West Middle School, Berks County, documenting Novipax
- Third place: Lionville Middle School, Chester County, documenting ONExia, Inc.
Lionville Middle School’s project coach and teacher Judi Kroboth noted that “WSCM gave me the opportunity to provide a challenging and gratifying experience for students; to work closely with these students outside of the traditional classroom, and to assist them with critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity in a novel situation. The award was exciting, but, just the icing on the cake.” While one of the students, Abby Clay added that, “WSCM was a very rewarding experience. It allowed me to make new friends, learn more about manufacturing and better my teamwork skills.”
“The goal of WSCM is to make manufacturing attractive and cool in the eyes of middle school students so that a career in manufacturing and technical school education are on their radar,” said Jack Pfunder, president and CEO of the Manufacturers Resource Center. “The creativity and enthusiasm that was displayed in each of the videos is inspiring to all of us, and I congratulate every student who participated in this contest across Pennsylvania.”
Perhaps contributing to the “cool” factor for the students at Lionville Middle School was the fact that Tyler Mayes who represented the team’s manufacturing partner, ONExia Inc. also attended the same school. “I first learned about the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? program when Greg Selke, our CEO, approached me to work with the students,” Mayes noted. “The deal became even better when I learned that the students were from Lionville Middle School, which I attended, and that the team was led by my former teacher, Mrs. Kroboth.”
“I still have fond memories of learning from some great teachers like Mrs. Kroboth and many others,” said Mayes who graduated from Downingtown East High School and went on to earn a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University. “I’m a firm believer that the Downingtown School District is the best in preparing students for the next step of their lives,” he noted, “so much so that I returned to Downingtown to begin my professional career.”
“The kids did a tremendous job of planning ahead of their visit to ONExia,” said Mayes “and on the video shooting day they really took charge and their hard work obviously paid off.” “I was honored to be able to stand on the stage with them as they accepted their award,” he continued “and I was also proud to see how humble they were before the event – just being happy to be there and sincerely hoping for Springton Lake to win.”
At the end of the day, “this program is a great way to connect manufacturers to the next generation of their workforce while providing students with a creative, educational, and fun way to get excited about future careers in manufacturing,” Governor Wolf said. “Congratulations to the winners of the statewide contest, and every student and faculty member who worked on video entries to the contest across the commonwealth this year. Your success in your careers after you graduate will define the future of Pennsylvania.”
Check out the videos of all of the teams in the Best of PA What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? Student video contest.