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Montgomery Area Windbreakers take prize in national energy competition

The students competed in a renewable energy challenge against other schools in Colorado.

MONTGOMERY, Pa. — Five fifth grade students from Montgomery Area Elementary School in Lycoming County recently brought home a national award. The students competed in the eighth annual National KidWind Challenge in Boulder, Colorado.

"We went through a solar challenge, an offshore wind turbine challenge, and the normal wind challenge," said fifth grader Bryar Walk.

Waylynn Barrows, Lyle Huggler, Isaiah Mowrey, Weston Sherman, and Bryar Walk belong to the school's Renewable Energy Club and form the team called the Windbreakers. The students had to build a wind turbine and measure its energy output.

"They tested us in joules with a low speed, medium speed, and then a high speed," Isaiah Mowrey said.

"We got the opportunity to see other people from around the country's stuff that we are doing like turbines and how good they built their blades and all the different designs," Waylynn Barrows said.

Each team member was responsible for different parts of the wind turbine. They showed Newswatch 16 how it works.

"Our design has two main gears that don't generate anything. We have four generators connecting to one big circuit, so they all collect," Lyle Huggler explained.

The kids could not hold back their excitement when they were announced as national champions.

"They went first team and waited a few seconds. Next team and they waited a little bit. My heart was pounding, and then they called the Montgomery Windbreakers, and I was so relieved," Weston Sherman said.

The boys say competing together was the best part.

"Biggest thing I am most proud of them is actually their ability to learn how to work in a group of five when they are all very much leaders," said Peter Ruhl, the team's fifth grade teacher.

The boys will be in sixth grade next year and hope to make it back to the national competition for middle school students.

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