Off to the (chariot) races!

On Oct. 31, two chariots made of cardboard were brought out to the track at Milford High School. These chariots had been made by groups of students, ready for a race soon to begin for a prize: a new tablet.

As they were lined up at the start – "horses" and "riders" ready – everyone was in good spirits, waiting for the race to begin.

The idea for the race came from Wentworth Institute of Technology, where Milford’s engineering teacher, Frank Xydias, went on a tour last year.

"I thought how fun it would be to introduce this in Milford, but I didn’t want this to be an engineering-only event," Xydias said. "There are over 800 students at the high school, and some may never take engineering.

"For those students that like to design and build, this would be an opportunity to work on an engineering project," he said. "The tablet prize was a way to encourage participation."

The designs of this year contrasted greatly, and the difference in design and size made the race all the more entertaining.

One of the chariots, the Cinderella, was both larger and flashier than that of the opponent’s chariot, but the early head start the Cinderella had gotten ended when its weight proved too much for the turns of the track. The turns slowed it down, unlike its smaller and more agile opponent.

The smaller chariot bucked its rider twice before the wheels broke on the final stretch of the track. As they desperately tried to get in first – their opponents still lagging behind, losing enthusiasm as they went – the rider took to holding the axle of the wheels to the chariot, allowing them to keep going.

They were the first to finish. The crowd was roaring its approval when an act of true sportsmanship multiplied it tenfold.

The event was received well by the students of Milford High, and many could not wait to get going. A lot of the students also were excited to watch.

Many did find the short time frame difficult, so Xydias decided to let them sign their teams up now so they could begin their designs for next year’s race.

Auryon Torrey is a freshman at Milford High School.