A festive atmosphere welcomed a large crowd to the 6th Annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest hosted by Genesis: Pathways to Success (GPS), the STEM initiative of Ripley County Community Foundation along with Kids Discovery Factory and Jac-Cen-Del Community School Corporation on Sat., March 4, 2017, at Jac-Cen-Del Elementary School. Guests gathered to see how middle and high school students had imagined, designed and created complicated machines tackling this year’s task, “Apply A Band-Aid.”

Capturing top honors in Division I (middle school) was St. Louis School’s “Rube World Staffers” team. The team of 7th graders won First Place in the Division and walked away with the Teamwork Award, Spirit of Rube Goldberg Award and Judges Award. The win qualifies the team to advance to the first ever National Division I Rube Goldberg Machine Contest scheduled for March 26 at COSI in Columbus, Ohio.

Division I 1st Place – St. Louis School’s, “Rube World Staffers” .
Division II 1st Place – Engineering Academy, “Operation Sam”.









In Division II (high school), the Ripley County Engineering Academy’s machine, “Operation Sam,” not only captured first place, but also won the People’s Choice Award, Teamwork Award, Judges Award and the coveted Peer Award. The Engineering Academy team will advance to the National Division II Rube Goldberg Machine Contest scheduled for March 25 at COSI in Columbus, Ohio.

Other winners in Division I included the second place winner, “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” from Milan Middle School. This team also won the People’s Choice Award, Creative Spark Award and Peer Award.  The third place winning team in Division I was Batesville Middle School’s team, “Blocky’s Casa Rapido.”

In Division II, Batesville High School’s “Xtreme Makeover: Rube Goldberg Edition” finished in second place and also won the Creative Spark and Spirit of Rube Goldberg Awards.       Third place in Division II went to Greenwood High School’s “Rube’s Traveling Infirmary.”

Other teams competing in the Regional contest represented South Ripley Junior High School, Jac-Cen-Del High School, Switzerland County High School, Oldenburg Academy, Batesville High School and Milan High School.

The competition encourages teamwork and out-of-the-box problem solving in a fresh learning environment and level playing field.   “This year’s contest was phenomenal,” Cheryll Obendorf, GPS executive director, said. “Over the years, we’ve seen this contest grow, and we are very thankful for the support of our community – especially our sponsors and volunteers – in making it happen.” According to Obendorf, more than 30 volunteers helped to make the event run smoothly. Kids Discovery Factory also brought mobile exhibits for younger children to participate in STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) activities.

Sponsors for this year’s Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest were Batesville Tool & Die, Genesis: Pathways to Success, Kids Discovery Factory, Elgin Fastener Group, Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, German American Bank, Enhanced Telecommunications Corporation, Ripley County Community Foundation, Friendship State Bank and Franklin County Community Foundation. In-kind contributions received from Eagle 3 Resources, East Indiana Area Health Education Center, Gillman’s Home Center and Halcomb Home Center were greatly appreciated.

The first national Rube Goldberg Machine Contest was launched in 1988. Nationwide television, radio and printed media attention promotes the growth of the contest to make it bigger and better each year.

Genesis: Pathways to Success is an initiative of the Ripley County Community Foundation dedicated to empowering students to succeed in STEM by developing programs in areas such as engineering, agriculture, health science and technology as well as by supporting events that encourage students to apply curious minds and critical thinking skills to real-world opportunities. GPS generates ongoing and meaningful dialogue and collaboration to prepare a talent pipeline for a globally dynamic marketplace. For additional information, please visit

Kids Discovery Factory’s vision is to establish a vibrant STEAM discovery center with engaging exhibits and programs to inspire families and school groups throughout Southeastern Indiana to explore, create and innovate. The discovery center will be a truly unique destination to benefit children from birth to 14 years old. For more information, please visit

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