An annual event that high school students in Gladstone anticipate took place this past Wednesday, despite the rain. William Morton Collegiate 

Industrial Arts Teacher Trevor Lang says it's the finale for his Grade 12 students after having built go-karts from the ground up in groups of two or three.

"They were designing stuff, figuring out problems, and then they test drive them. The final thing here is what we call 'Race Day.'  It's a whole school-wide event. There are activities; baseball game in the morning, pancake breakfast, we serve lunch, and then in the afternoon, we drag race these across the field head-to-head in different groups with different kids driving each time. Then have a playoff to find out who's the fastest driver and the fastest group kart. So, it's a lot of fun for them to have that experience."

He notes the winner has bragging rights on their trophy with their names. Lang adds they can visit to school sometime in the future and show their family and friends where their name is displayed.   

"We have one less kart this year, just because there were less kids in the class this year in the group of Grade 12s. There's a couple mini bikes and four go karts. The idea with them is that they all have the same size engine, same basic frame to control the weight. After that, they kind of customize roll cages and everything else they want to add to it after that. It really comes down to the driver."

Lang says past years saw judging include the kart that looks the best, but it's currently and simply the fastest kart that beats the others in speed. 

Iver Young was on a team that built one of the go karts, and says he most enjoyed working on the exhaust to determine how loud the engine would sound. He says his kart was louder than the others.

"I would say so, but it's not fast as theirs, though. That's the thing."

Young adds the students had the opportunity to buy their karts, and his team decided not to take that step.

He gives this advice if someone were to ask him if they should take this kind of course and get involved with their own kart.

"I think it's really fun. It's something new and interesting. To build on your own kart, it's got a new experience for everyone, to be honest.'

His teammate Genzer Navalta says he most enjoyed doing the welding.

"I enjoyed doing the karts and the sound of the engine."

He notes it's been his first year at the school.

Drake Star adds he enjoyed the actual building of the carts and testing them out. 

"Obviously, breaking them is pretty fun, too, but we didn't really do much of that."

He adds he feels his team's kart is better all around than the others, with superior welds and overall construction. 

"Ours looks like the Flintstone vehicle right here and kind has a flat top. The line goes and no front end..

Star notes he will remember the time he's spent in the class.

"Being grade 12 with all these people, we've been in metals and then the shop for all four years. We kind of just made some good friendships in here and you can really talk about whatever you want with 'Langer'. It's a pretty good way to end off the year getting to do this with a bunch of buddies. It's pretty fun." 

He explains their option to buy the kart requires the brake disc and motor to be removed. 

"Or we could just take the motor out, and then the Grade 9s will disassemble them. We'll probably just leave it for the Grade 9s to take apart."

Logan Pendel says it was interesting to build the karts in the industrial class.

"It's my first time welding. At my old school, I only worked with wood. It was pretty funny and interesting. I made the exhaust pipe." 

Skyler Winters also worked on the same kart, and adds it was fun.

"I liked working with our group. I did the exhaust and the steering wheel and stuff like that. Somebody did the frame. We all worked together to put it together. We all had our parts that we did. I think we're just going to leave it. I don't think we'll actually use it outside of school because we all have our quads. Ours is quite heavy. We didn't really think about winning. We just wanted to make it cool."

Student Matthew Elk says he was always involved with working on metal and enjoyed shops during high school, and shares what the project was like for him.

"Seeing before in years past and watching these guys race, it was like finally, a kind of full circle moment for me. And I had a lot of fun. I particularly enjoyed just laughing with each other every time we mess up. something breaks. or we're just driving and just watching, everybody tear up the field. It was really fun. I'd definitely do it all over again."

DJ Meloney says it was an awesome part of his time at high school. 

"It's a good experience. It's always fun to race and I guess we'll see how that goes today. The best part was just building the kart and seeing what is going to come out of it. Hopefully, it's fun. I kind of knew what I wanted to do with it the whole time and we kind of made a plan, drew it all out, and we built her up. I think one of the people in my group is going to buy it and we'll put another motor on, and see how fast we can get it going. Gladstone's an awesome school. I had fun."

Ashton Kelemen's team won the race, and he says they made their kart light and it was able to drive quite quickly. 

"It was a fun year and we had fun building the kart."

The man who came up with the idea for building and then racing the karts has since retired from teaching, but is on the school board. Wilf Lahman says he had the idea about 15 years ago. 

"I came up with the idea of building motorcycles after the Orange County Chopper show," says Lahman. "So, I watched that show faithfully and I thought, 'I wonder if I could do something  like that here.' So, we started building bikes and then it grew from there."

Wilf LahmanBoard Trustee Wilf Lahman

He notes it's great to see it still running.

"There was a couple years off during COVID which everybody suffered through. But it was kind of cancelled. But we got it back and glad to see it's back. Kids are building, designing, problem-solving, and all those good things, and having a great time with it. Trevor's changed it quite a bit and for the good. When I did that, I used to let the kids basically build whatever they want and that would run into a series of problems and a time crunch. I had kids here after school until 11:00 at night to get these things ready to go, but he's kind of put parameters on it, which was a smart thing to do. They have to build in certain measurements and constraints, and then they can put their artistic flair, as it were, on it later on. He's done a great job with it and I hope it goes for another 50 years."

He adds it's a legacy kind of thing, after having done it himself for nine or ten years, and Lang took over for the last two or three years. 

"It's kind of cool to see it going. So, I'm here in the trustee capacity today, take a few pictures, and see what the kids have fun, kind of sit back, and enjoy it."

Student councilStudent council who organized the day: Dyhan Laus, Regan Teichroeb, Guidance Teacher Nancy Smith, Mikee Malli, Janine Anonoy, Lily Stewart (not pictured Errich Nidoy, Taia Campbell)

The day of the race was organized by Guidance Teacher Nancy Smith. 

"Race Day has been a tradition for many years. We had to alter it slightly for the COVID years, but we are quite happy to have it back. It's a day of activities for kids. This year, our Student Council decided to go old-fashioned picnic games. We did some potato sack races this morning in potato totes. You can imagine what that looks like with four kids in each sack. We do tug-of-rope. We do some three-legged racing, and then we do the races later after lunch. We do some slip and slide in the afternoon, some water wars, and we have a lot of fun. The kids seem to really enjoy it and it's just a nice day to belong in 'our houses' and feel good."

Principal Shannon Blondeau says the Race Day was exciting and gave all a chance to see how students and staff come together as a community. 

"As you can see, there's maybe 12 students involved with the race and the building of the bikes. But the whole school community was there supporting and that's what 'the Warriors' do. We back each other up regardless of a sport, or if it's a race day, or if it's a band performance. We're there for one another and that's what I'd like to see."