Back in full force: Lancers set roller coaster project in motion

by Utkarsh Agarwal (’23) | March 21, 2022

Photography by Tessa Gross (’24)

Signs warn “Beware the drop” and “Turn back now” as passengers ride up a gentle incline. Too late to turn around, they are confronted with a precipitous plunge that leads to the mountain’s dark base. The log flume plummets into the darkness below, accelerating to over forty-five miles an hour. Splash! The journey concludes when everyone on board is drenched in gallons of water. Eshaan Murali (’24) recalled his first ever experience with a roller coaster as a six-year-old at Disneyland: “All my childhood friends wanted to ride Splash Mountain, but I didn’t want to get drenched. Succumbing to everyone else’s contagious energy and desire, I did. Eventually, I was doused by the flooding water—I loved it.”

Zooming in on Saint Francis, the same enthusiasm can be felt in the halls of the 100 building, as juniors combine sheets of graph paper to design their own thrilling rides for their physics classes.

A student in Mr. Chihiro Ikezi’s Physics Honors class, Steve Mathew (’23) described his initial reaction to the assignment: “When I found out we were going to work on this, I remembered growing up all around roller coasters throughout my childhood.” 

Ethan Kawahara (’23) added that it was a great opportunity to apply what he has learned in class to a real-life situation.

Juniors have been diligently working since February, generating creative ideas during class while adhering to class-chosen themes. “I was able to express my creativity and bring out my unique ideas through this project,” said Koena Jaware (’23).  

As with any inventive process, juniors have undergone many trials and tribulations over the past month, completing numerous cycles of sketching then erasing different designs. “Although coming up with a creative design is interesting, making it match all the project requirements is quite the challenge,” Ayush Raj (’23) recounted.  

Despite the inevitable challenges, students conveyed that Mr. Ikezi, Ms. Rebecca Salvemini (’07), and Mr. Michael Rubin support them unconditionally, helping their juniors to create ingenious projects. “I really appreciate Ms. Sal’s ability to solidify all my concepts of centripetal force, energy, work, and power, as having a strong understanding of these fundamentals played an integral role in constructing this project,” remarked Shreeyans Sahu (’23). 

Even through the pandemic, Saint Francis physics classes were as fascinating as ever. “I truly enjoyed and appreciated taking Mr. Ikezi’s physics class because we were given so many opportunities to innovate from our very own homes.  I can’t imagine how many innovative opportunities his students are enjoying now that school is back in person!” said Ryan Agdassi (’22).

At present, juniors moonlighting as architectural designers and engineers have inspired others on campus. “After seeing so many of my teammates and friends’ roller coaster designs, I have already begun to think about some pretty crazy ideas,” mentioned Sanjit Borle (’24). With engaging teachers and talented students, Saint Francis is bound to see remarkable innovation in the coming years, starting with students’ extraordinary roller coaster models!

Categories: Features

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