Jerry Merz distinguished himself as a successful first-year coach as he helped lead a team of 10 Wauwatosa West students to a third-place finish at last week's annual Rube Goldberg competition at Waukesha County Technical College.
Not only that - the group was named Rookie of the Year.
Merz was pleased with the first-time effort against 22 other schools.
"Everyone felt great because the judges said they could not remember a time when a team placed in the top three and won the rookie award," Merz said. "When we started the day, the students looked around and thought the other teams were really prepared. I told them so were we."
The challenge and incentive
Preparation paid off. This year's challenge was to blow up a balloon and pop it using an imaginative contraption. The West students used a Batman theme with a Gotham City motif.
"By the time we left the competition and came back to the school, the students were already planning to be part of the competition next year," Merz said. "Their success made them more enthusiastic to do it again."
Merz, who owns a computer tech company, advises the district on science and technology curriculum, including the aerospace program and the STEM school, which emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math.
Rube Goldberg contests can be traced to 1949 on college campuses. Goldberg drew cartoons depicting complicated machines performing simple tasks in indirect ways.
- Video: Tosa Top 5: Five things you need to know about in Wauwatosa this week
- Wauwatosa endorses bus rapid transit route, more approvals needed (2)
- Wauwatosa officer fatally shoots man at Madison Park
- Wauwatosa Public Library announces list of summer events
- Blood drives scheduled for Milwaukee County during month of July
- Two lanes on Wauwatosa's Harmonee Bridge to close Thursday
- Milwaukee Co. Zoo welcomes baby harbor seal, bonobo
- East Tosa Gran Prix returns to Wauwatosa June 26
- Hidden Tosa: Inside the Wauwatosa Police Department
- What's going on with the abandoned building at Menomonee River Parkway and Harmonee Avenue?