by Joe Earle joeearle@reporternewspapers.net Catherine Wooster admits she had a bit of trouble at first justifying her proposed school project to her teachers at the Atlanta International School. After all, she wanted to build a trebuchet, which is, well, a medieval engine of war. It’s sort of a huge catapult for flinging really big things at one’s enemies. “There’s really no point in building a catapult other than destruction,” said Catherine, a 16-year-old 10th grader at AIS. But once she explained the historical significance of the device and the physics involved, her teachers relented. So, after lessons from her dad on using the necessary tools, Catherine built her own trebuchet over spring break. It stands 16 feet tall with its flinging arm raised, she said, and is about nine feet long. And it works. She’s demonstrated it at school. It fires soccer balls, cantaloupes and, for maximum devastation, watermelons. “The watermelon went about 50 feet,” Catherine said. “Actually, there was very little of the watermelon left.” What does she plan to do with now? She’s not sure. “We thought about using it in soccer games,” she said. “Maybe the Renaissance Festival is interested?”

Catherine Wooster admits she had a bit of trouble at first justifying her proposed school project to her teachers at the Atlanta International School.

After all, she wanted to build a trebuchet, which is, well, a medieval engine of war. It’s sort of a huge catapult for flinging really big things at one’s enemies.

“There’s really no point in building a catapult other than destruction,” said Catherine, a 16-year-old 10th grader at AIS.

But once she explained the historical significance of the device and the physics involved, her teachers relented. So, after lessons from her dad on using the necessary tools, Catherine built her own trebuchet over spring break. It stands 16 feet tall with its flinging arm raised, she said, and is about nine feet long.

And it works. She’s demonstrated it at school. It fires soccer balls, cantaloupes and, for maximum devastation, watermelons.

“The watermelon went about 50 feet,” Catherine said. “Actually, there was very little of the watermelon left.”

What does she plan to do with now? She’s not sure. “We thought about using it in soccer games,” she said. “Maybe the Renaissance Festival is interested?”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.