Fluid Power Action Challenge at St. Augustine Preparatory Academy

Programs like the Fluid Power Action Challenge are made possible in part by the generous support of industry volunteers as well as NFPA Education and Technology Foundation and Pascal Society donors. Support these efforts by making a donation.


This spring, 60 high school juniors and seniors at St. Augustine Preparatory Academy took part in a classroom Fluid Power Action Challenge as an elective course called Civil Engineering and Architecture. The students got first-hand experience creating fluid power mechanical kits using balsawood and syringes. The students split into teams, and each group was tasked to create a unique design that could move one of the following items: a golf ball, baseball, plastic egg, or a full soup can.

During the Challenge, the teams of students realized they had to go back to the drawing board multiple times and redesign their devices throughout the challenge. With the help of NFPA industry members, a team of engineers assisted the students in building and designing their mechanical devices. The students had the opportunity to ask questions and get a perspective from engineering experts who currently work in the field.

A special thanks to NFPA industry members engineers from Husco International, FORCE America, and Poclain Hydraulics, who provided their time and talents by helping the teams of students build and customize their mechanical kits. By providing support from industry members in the classroom, NFPA continues to deliver educational opportunities for students to learn about fluid power. Ultimately, this will create a pipeline of talent into fluid power.


“The NFPA fluid power kits were a fantastic addition to our curriculum this year. Hands-on learning is so important, and this project provided students with a great opportunity to be creative and build!”

Maria Gharabawy (Educator)

“With engineering, I thought it was building things. This also taught me how to build and collaborate as a group. This is the first time we experienced movement with the fluid power kit.”

Alejandro Cordoba (Student)

About St Augustine Preparatory Academy:

In 2014, Husco Founder and former CEO Gus and his wife Becky Ramirez committed to investing in a new school on Milwaukee’s Southside as a push to improve Milwaukee education. St. Augustine Prep has over 1,400 students enrolled this academic year and offers 70 pre-college programs focusing on art, athletics, science, and religion.

Last year, 100% of their graduating senior class had at least one college acceptance, with over 53% accepted to Marquette University. Schools like St. Augustine Prep will continue to bridge the achievement gap for minority students in Milwaukee because 91% of its students come from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

St. Augustine Prep raised two million dollars during its annual Spring Gala to support its current programs and build a new elementary school. The new elementary school will provide additional classroom space for art, museums, science, special education, a library, rooftop playground, STEM labs, and a fitness center. The fluid power mechanical devices that the students built were on display during the Spring Gala so that parents could see the final projects.

If you are interested in participating or have questions about the Fluid Power Action Challenge, contact NFPA Workforce Program Manager Eric Pannell at epannell@nfpa.com or 414-778-3364.

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