Rhea County student project could break record - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports


Rhea County student project could break record

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For the past six weeks, students in the Rhea County High School Career and Technical Education program (CTE) have been putting their skills to the test, building a 23-foot flashlight as part of a required year-end project. It's one of many random ideas they brainstormed after learning of 900 batteries the school's maintenance crew was giving away.

"Just because they were left lying around and something needed to be done [with them]. They were all at full charge, pretty much," says instructor Justin Beaty. He's the faculty member overseeing the project.

The batteries are housed in PVC pipes throughout the flashlight which measures 10 feet longer than the current record-holder made by a company in Germany. Also, the the diameter of the front is 3" longer at 39".

The school project had the power of 70 people from 10th through 12th grades pitching in.

"Every class would be involved in the construction phase," says Beaty. "Every class was involved in the design phase."

It all started with design sketches on paper.

Other materials like metal, the outer covering made of galvanized tin, the wiring, and of course the light bulbs were paid for either by the school or out of Beaty's pocket. The flashlight uses 15 100-watt compact fluorescent bulbs.

The flashlight weighs around 275 pounds but is portable. It's equipped with 9 handles strategically placed distribute the weight evenly when carried.

The project was challenging for for senior Jesse Floyd.

"Working with the tin. That was the hardest part," says Floyd. "There was a lot of cutting and a lot of tweaking."

 There were some doubts along the way about whether or not it would work.

"Well, I looked at Mr. Beaty and I said it's either going to start smoking or it's going to work," recalls senior Wade Coleman.

But the students' teamwork, skill, and determination paid off.

"My favorite part was when we finally turned the switch on and it came on. That was a good feeling," adds Coleman.

It put the spotlight on the class and a proud teacher.

"It would be nice for them to say, hey, I participated in working on the world's largest flashlight," says Beaty.

It took 800 man hours to build the flashlight and more than 200 feet of wiring. it's not as bright or heavy as the current record-holder, but Beaty and his students hope the other dimensions make the cut.

They submitted an application to the Guinness Book, but it could be several more weeks before they get a response.

School Patrol

David Carroll covers education news and issues at schools across the Tennessee Valley.


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