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Team Frank Ocean wins Kayak Race

Team Frank Ocean wins Kayak Race

Senior Savannah Minckler and junior Brian Noronha finished in first place in the annual Washingtonville High School Kayak Race on June 6, 2024 before a crowd of mostly seniors at the high school pool.

Savannah was the brave one to captain the boat – dubbed Frank Ocean, named after the singer – they designed and built out of only cardboard and duct tape. The requirement was to use only two sheets of cardboard and two rolls of duct tape. Savannah paddled her way across the pool through preliminary and finals heats to a first place finish. 

Melissa Benjamin’s Technical Math and Computer Science students have been spending three weeks designing and constructing the boats to make the cardboard and duct tape vessels seaworthy. A difficult task, for sure, but they applied the engineering design process, which they have been utilizing all year long on various projects. The process included steps such as asking questions, researching, imagining a solution, planning and building a prototype. The race was the students’ opportunity to test and evaluate the prototype. Typically, after testing comes an improvement stage.

Three teams made it to the final heat. Junior Casey Lares, senior Zyriana Padilla and junior Julia Mann and their boat – Beach Bhaddies – tied for second place along with a teacher team of Briana Scott and Matthew Anastasi and their boat Sea 3PO. Neither team finished with their boat, however.

Some of the boats struggled to stay afloat immediately and others made it to varying lengths of the pool but didn’t make it to the first finish line. But, none besides Frank Ocean made it through the full length of the pool in both heats. 

“I thought we were going to make it – at least make it half-way (across the pool in the first heat before sinking),” Savannah said. “I didn’t know how it was going to make it a second time because it was already starting to sink in the front.”

Savannah and Brian credit their success to the design of their boat. 

“We built a second platform to hold the weight when you sit on it,” Brian said. 

“We made sure to use a lot of the tape towards the bottom (to keep the boat from leaking),” Savannah said.

“We also made it slanted to direct water under it,” Brian said. 

Participating teams and their boat names:
Mackayala Brown & Logan Abbruzzese- Just the Ship
Ms. Diamond and Ms. Faber- The Odyssey
Mrs. Krogslund & Ms. Roberts- Sail La Vie
Kaylee Finnegan & Jessica Pen- S.S Chicken
Eliott O’Neil & Jojo Santiago- BOAT Boat
Brian Noronha & Savannah Minckler- Frank Ocean
Freddy Hernandez & Myles Lennard & Gavin Goudreau- No Diddy
Casey Lares & Zyriana Padila & Julia Mann- Beach Bhaddies
Bee Streichenwin & Jerry Peterson- Overseas
Mr. Anastasi & Ms. Scott- SEA 3PO
Mr. Remer & Ms. Battista- Fish & Ships


two people smiling for camera
students smiling at camera
student riding cardboard kayak in pool