EHT students get big reward for winning miniature golf design

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 Kelly Hunt/From left are Patrick Lam, Gus Buzby, Thomas Deng and Nashid Ellis, the winning team of the Goofy Golf miniature golf course design contest. Kelly Hunt/From left are Patrick Lam, Gus Buzby, Thomas Deng and Nashid Ellis, the winning team of the Goofy Golf miniature golf course design contest.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – A classroom lesson from the Dr. Joyanne D. Miller School has rolled into a much larger project, and now four students from the school will have a personal and permanent connection to a landmark along the Ocean City Boardwalk.

 Fifth graders Gus Buzby, Thomas Deng, Patrick Lam and Nashid Ellis were selected as the winners of a miniature golf course hole design contest by the owner of Goofy Golf, Randy Kohr, whose course is in the midst of renovation. When Kohr heard about the class project through his friend, teacher and golf professional Cheri Cotelli, he invited the students to participate and gave them some requirements for the project.

Laura Stetser/From left: Gus Buzby, Patrick Lam and Thomas Deng explain the winning design of their hole. Not pictured is team member Nashid Ellis. Laura Stetser/From left: Gus Buzby, Patrick Lam and Thomas Deng explain the winning design of their hole. Not pictured is team member Nashid Ellis.  

“We had to build it around a 10-foot lion that is staying on the hole,” said Lam.

 Buzby said the design also has to be mindful of all safety precautions such as tripping hazards.

 “We had to ensure that kids and adults could play the hole and that a hole-in-one was possible to get by everyone,” he said. “And it had to be goofy.”

  The boys came up with their winning theme of “Minion Madness” based on the silly characters in the animated movie, “Despicable Me.”

 The design calls for a bridge, and two bunkers as obstacles. The hole is located at the feet of the lion, which will be surrounded by the minions, Buzby said. 

 “We have the minions tying up the lion,” Deng explained.

  The school’s gifted and talented teacher Kelly Hunt introduced the idea of having students build miniature golf course holes to her fellow teachers Cotelli, Kim Pettit, Colin McClain and Holly Ulland as part of a lesson on Newton’s Laws. Friction and forces had to be considered as the nearly 100 students worked in teams, drawing up blueprints, Hunt said.

 The teams of students each had to present a PowerPoint to the classes and finalists were selected. Kohr was invited in to select the winner.

 Buzby said the activity taught him how to think about miniature golf in a different way.

“Now I try to get a good angle,” he said.

 Buzby, along with all of the students who participated in the contest, will get a chance to test out his new knowledge during the course’s grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 27. Kohr is treating all of the kids to a free round of golf, a pizza lunch and ice cream. The teachers are personally funding the transportation costs, Hunt said.

 The boys will have a permanent plaque next to their hole in honor of their contribution to the course.

 As a special treat, Cotelli, a professional golfer, has used her connection to the sport to request an LPGA professional to attend and play along with the kids. The timing of the event coincides with the LPGA ShopRite Classic in Galloway from May 26-June 1.

Submitted/The hole calls for hazards and a 10-foot lion. Submitted/The hole calls for hazards and a 10-foot lion.


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