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Helmut Schmidt, Published June 11 2013

DGF students prepare for national science competition in Florida

GLYNDON, Minn. – Students from Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton High School are prepping for a national science and engineering competition after taking first place in Minnesota in their division.

The team will submit a paper on cyber security today, and is preparing oral presentations for the Technology Student Association TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science) competition June 28 to July 2 in Orlando, Fla.

The college-level problems are stretching the students’ abilities, adviser Pat Rieder said.

“It’s just like a team of engineers solving a problem,” said Rieder, who teaches chemistry and physics at D-G-F. “There are things you never cover in a physics class, a chemistry class, or a math class. It’s kind of fun.”

The local competition was held at North Dakota State University. This year’s theme is “Engineering a Secure Cyberspace.”

The D-G-F squad includes graduated seniors Veronica Lesnar, Josh Breid, Mandy Mercil, Bailey Fuchs, Mark Scheuring, Cole Sogge and Scott Opatril, and junior Tyler Johnson.

Two members of the group, Scheuring and Opatril, can’t go to Orlando, Rieder said. Competition rules allow graduated senior Jeremy Winter to substitute for Scheuring.

The D-G-F squad did well at the state level, scoring 65 out of 80 points on their multiple-choice exams, Rieder said. Essays in another part of the competition required several weeks to grade. When those results came in, the Rebels were the best in Minnesota.

“I never expected we’d actually make it,” Fuchs said. “It was pretty exciting when we heard that we actually get to go to Florida.”

“It’s really cool that we get to go,” added Johnson, who several team members called the group’s cyber guru. “With cyber security it’s always a challenge, but it’s fun.”

Breid said it’s been a learning experience to solve problems as a team. Even scheduling meetings can be tough.

“It gets interesting sometimes. We’re all busy,” Breid said.

Sogge said the group is also learning a lot about cyber security from experts at John Deere.

“There’s so much more to it than I thought there was,” Sogge said. “It just opened my eyes a lot.”

The competition is divided into three levels: middle school, grades 9-10 and grades 11-12.

D-G-F edged Eagan to place first for grades 11-12. Breckenridge High School and Fergus Falls High School squads place third and fourth.

For grades 9-10, Fergus Falls was first and Breckenridge second, the TSA reported.

In North Dakota, the West Fargo STEM Center (A) team was first for middle schools. A Northern Cass High School group won for grades 9-10. For grades 11-12, Northern Cass was first, Thompson High School second and West Fargo High third, the TSA reported.

In addition to preparing for the competition, the students are fund-raising. Rieder said. They need $8,000 to pay for airfare and lodging at the resort where the competition is held, he said.