CONOVER, N.C. -- Young students got to combine their art and engineering skills today to see who could build the best "water tower" out of recycled materials.

The contest for National Drinking Water Week pitted the creative know-how of teams from nine elementary schools and one middle school.

Teams were scored on their tower's structural stability, how quickly it could fill and empty water, and its creative theme.

The contest taught the youngsters the importance of clean drinking water and how cities make that happen.

"I think the point was to learn what's going on in the water towers we drive by every day," says Gabby Queen of Newton-Conover Middle School. "I learned it takes a lot of work, and it's not just a big metal thing that looks good. It has a purpose and it has to work."

Queen won first place in the middle school division. And $300.

Three elementary winners also got a total of $300 in prizes.