There is something special about WinterFest at Kings Island. Between the thousands of twinkling lights, the distant jingle of a horse drawn carriage, the smell of hot chocolate in the air- the entire park is transformed into a winter wonderland. It takes thousands of hours of work, from initial concept, to designing, fabricating, installation and then testing. This year, the successful opening of WinterFest was made even more special, with a little help from our neighbors.
In October of 2018, leaders at Kings High School and Kings Island began brainstorming new, outside of the box ways that the two organizations could work together. After all, Kings High School is but a few hundred feet away from the lift hill of The Bat roller coaster. A proposal from Jason Shields, Engineering and Computer Science teacher and head of the Kings High School Engineering Academy seemed like the perfect fit: high school students would create, from start to finish, Winterfest displays that could be showcased at Kings Island for all to see.
Over the following year, students in Jason’s classes worked tirelessly to create “Santa’s Invitation”, a charming story that follows four desert creatures on their way to the North Pole. Four groups of students each designed a scene in this display, drawing on what they learned about Agile Project Management in classroom. Students programmed the animatronics (over twenty in total) using Arduino micro controllers to control servo, DC and stepper motors. Each display also has an interactive component. Student Danielle Page even wrote a poem in iambic pentameter to help narrate the story.
Kings High School Engineering Academy and Kings Island invite you to check out “Santa’s Invitation” for yourself, now showing nightly during WinterFest hours in Coney Elf Village.
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