If You Build it, They Will Scream


The backyard of the Seattle home of Will Miceli ’93 is just 40 feet by 15 feet. So when his 11-year-old son, Parker, suggested they build a roller coaster there, he initially thought the idea was too wacky, even for him. “But a few months later,” Will confesses, “we decided to just do it.”

How do you build a backyard roller coaster? Will and his family watched YouTube videos to see how other people had done it. Then they designed and built a track, using wood and PVC pipe, that launches from an elevated platform beside their deck, hurtles downward, banks 90 degrees around the garage, and slopes upward to slow and finally stop the custom-made wooden cart. Two playground balls serve as the bumper at the end of the run. Total cost? About $500. “Screws were the most expensive part,” Will noted. It’s no Cyclone, but on the YouTube video that Will posted (watch it at williston.com/bulletin), the ride still elicits screams of delight from Parker.

Will is a stay-at-home dad now. He’s started a film production company, Fremont Films, and does corporate videos and “fun/goofy” projects, he said. Before leaving the corporate world, he started a health care software company and worked as a business consultant. Asked how his Williston education impacted his life, including his interest in constructing elaborate and potentially dangerous DIY projects, Will answered, “I had to work pretty independently at Williston on my class work, sports, and other activities. I’d say getting skills to work independently was super helpful. In fact, I did more school work at Williston than I did in college.” What’s next for the Miceli family? One project getting serious consideration: a parkour park.