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William Penn Award recipient Chuck Pennoni Challenges Students with K’Nex Design Contest

Posted Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Programs & Events, Education & Talent

As part of the William Penn Gala festivities, the Chamber along with William Penn Award recipient C.R. “Chuck” Pennoni, invited three regional high schools to participate in a K’Nex Design Challenge on Wednesday, April 19th.

Three teams of five participants (consisting of four students and one mentor/teacher/advisor) went head to head to create the most unique, environmentally friendly people mover that could travel at least four feet across the table and overcome an obstacle.

Students from 3 regional high schools competed to create an environmentally friendly people mover.

With 2.5 hours, each team was provided with 1,400 K’Nex pieces and a motor to create a model of their people mover, with explanation of how many people their vehicle could hold and how it is environmentally friendly. The teams were judged on their creativity/design, teamwork, challenge success, and presentation.


Students had 2.5 hours to create an environmentally friendly people mover.

Chuck Pennoni graciously offered to award the high school with the highest score from the judges $5,000, while the runner up would receive $3,000 and third place $2,000.

However, the judges found each vehicle to be incredibly innovative and impressive, resulting in a three-way tie, with each team receiving a $3,333 award. Representatives from each school team were presented with their award during the William Penn Award Gala on Friday, April 21, 2017.

William Penn Award recipient C.R. “Chuck” Pennoni meeting the student competitors.

Participating schools included the Charter High School for Architecture and Design, G.W. Carver High School for Engineering and Science, and Henderson High School of West Chester School District.

The panel of judges consisted of Chuck Pennoni, PE Chairman, Pennoni; Leslie Lamberson, Assistant Professor, Drexel University College of Engineering; and Michael Araten, CEO, K’Nex.

Each team impressed the judges with innovative designs, using K’Nex to build their models.

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