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McCarthy Construction challenges students to ‘Float Your Boat’

Yuma Union High School District students from engineering, construction, science research, and automotive classes were challenged by McCarthy Construction to build a usable boat at Marcus Pool on May 5, 2023.  

Teams from Gila Ridge High School, Kofa High School, Cibola High School, and San Luis High School competed in four different competitions and were given one small, medium, and large campaign sign, scissors, and 30 feet of duct tape. 

“They’re super ambitious to get the boat to float, to get it fast enough to beat the others, and just to overcome all the challenges I've given them,” McCarthy Construction Project Manager John Kovesdy said. “It's not all about getting a boat that floats, it's about sinking a couple times to get a boat that floats.”

Kofa High School students Andie Roman, Zaria Ramirez, and Israel Padilla took first place in  the first challenge which was to be the first to build a boat and get it across the water successfully with a passenger. 

“Mr. [Brent] Phar always says that triangles are the strongest shape so that was the first thing we thought of when we were doing this,” KHS student Andie Roman said. “Our main strategy was just going slow, not rushing at all and just taking our time, not paying attention to anybody else just worried about what we were doing.”

This was the fourth year McCarthy has partnered with YUHSD to hold a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) competition using limited raw materials. In previous competitions students were challenged to build planes and kinetic cars. It’s the second time they have challenged students to construct boats. The first event took place in May 2019 at Valley Aquatic Center. 

Here is a list of boat race winners:

1st boat race: Isaac Ahmadi, Andrew McNair, Samantha Chulamorkodt, and Gwen Nguyen (CHS)

2nd boat race: Victor Covarrubias, Esai Gill, Martha Nunez-Rodriguez and Eddie Quinones (KHS)

Last boat standing: Isaac Ahmadi, Andrew McNair, Samantha Chulamorkodt, and Gwen Nguyen (CHS)


Photos from the event can be found here:

Student in boat floating across the pool.


Lesley Avila