Engineer at CHS finds outlets for design skills

       Jason Palo La Costa is a good example of a Coronado High School engineering student who has found, in the best traditions of Project Lead the Way (PLTW), practical applications for his skills.
       Most prominent have been victories in both local and regional judging for his bandshell design in the annual CAD/ Design/ Drafting Competition, sponsored by the National Association of Women in Construction (AWIC) and Classic Homes. Jason's design, meeting contest parameters for a bandshell with dressing rooms and public amenities within a small city block, now goes before national judges, with results expected at the end of this month.
       The CHS senior, who has taken PLTW classes (focusing on architectural engineering) since his freshman year, has even gained a kind of celebrity status of late, by designing the victorious craft for the annual multi-school Boat Regatta in the CHS pool. In the Regatta, students are timed in races back and forth across the pool using “boats” made of wood flats and plastic milk jugs held together with duct tape. Over the years, different boats have been designed for the event by the school's Math, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) club, but never before had Coronado won.
       “It's a design I've been perfecting for three years,” Jason explained. “I had worked with previous MESA teams. I only helped out because I was an underclassmen, but I kept mental notes.”
       He said he finds the Regatta fascinating because “it lets you test your design in a real-world setting. You put the boat in the water with people on it, and you get to see physics in action.”
       Another place in which Jason is leaving his mark at Coronado is the 1-acre park on the southwest side of the school. The volunteer development of the park has been continuing since the early '90s, with different classes of CHS students adding to its development. Jason's main contribution is a wooden footbridge through a wet area. He not only designed the bridge, he joins construction workdays at the park.
       His dedication is such that, even though he will be graduating this month, he plans to continue the bridge effort through the summer as well as to help out with MESA next year. This will be geographically possible because he will be attending nearby UCCS (as an engineering major), Jason said.

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