The Montgomery Blair High School robotics team, also known as The Blair Robot Project, has qualified for the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) World Championships hosted in Detroit. Blair will be the only team representing Montgomery County this year in the world’s largest celebration of STEM for students. The team is comprised of 50 students.
FRC is an international high school robotics competition organized by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The competition provides students with the opportunity to meet and work with educators, sponsors, employers, colleges and organizations helping to inspire STEM growth. Teams are challenged to build a 120-pound robot to fulfill the year’s game objectives in under six weeks. To qualify for World Championships, the team had to earn a top spot in the Chesapeake district. After two regional competitions and one district-level competition, the Blair Robot Project ranked fourth out of 127 teams in the Chesapeake district. It marks the third year the team has qualified for the world championship since the team’s founding in 1999.
The 2018-2019 year has been a season of many firsts. Throughout the season, the team’s robot distinguished itself from its competitors through its consistency in completing game objectives. At the Chesapeake District Bethesda event, the team became winners for the first time since 2004 and broke the season’s then-world record for most points scored in a single match. The team continued its momentum to become ranked second in the Blacksburg Event held at Blacksburg High School in Virginia. At both events, the team won the Entrepreneurship Award in recognition of its effective business plan to define and achieve team objectives. At the FIRST Chesapeake District Championships held in April, the team strategically partnered with two skilled teams to form a powerful alliance that advanced to the finals. Link to finals match 1
“It feels unreal to see all our efforts pay off. I’m so proud of how far this team has come, from developing our technical capabilities, expanding our outreach initiatives, to improving our project management and communication skills,” said team president and Blair senior Noah Gleason.
The students credit their success to a revamped rookie training system which encourages hands-on learning, an agile design process, and a student-led, mentor-guided approach which places students at the forefront of the decision-making process.
“The team has been very supportive and helped engage me in discussions and the build process. I’ve not only learned engineering skills like using [computer-aided design] and woodworking, but also how to combine different ideas and communicate effectively,” said Blair freshman Shrujana Kunnam.
Winners of Girl Power Contest Announced
The Montgomery County Commission for Women (CfW) announced the winners of its third annual Girl Power Contest. Participants were asked to submit a short story, poem or drawing that addressed the theme: If you had a superpower, how would you use that power to help girls and women?
CfW Commissioners judged entries based on creativity and content. Winners were selected from four categories: elementary, middle, high school and adult. The 2019 winners and honorable mention recipients are:
- First Place (tie): Franny Battista, Sherwood Elementary School
- First Place (tie): Abigail Feinberg, Chevy Chase Elementary School
- Honorable Mention: Zoey McMahon, Olney Elementary School
- First Place: Yoksha Murugananatham, Hallie Wells Middle School
- Honorable Mention: Purva Jani, Kingsview Middle School
- First Place: Carmie Hsiao, Poolesville High School
- Honorable Mention: Mbali Speights, Montgomery Blair High School
The contest was sponsored by the Montgomery County Commission for Women, Montgomery Magazine and Friends of the Library. First place entries will appear in Montgomery Magazine. All contest winners will be featured on the Commission for Women website and will receive a swag bag, a photo with the commissioners, and an invitation to be a guest of honor at a CFW event.
Keeping It Safe Coalition Announces Student Video Contest Winners
The Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control (DLC) and the Montgomery County Police Department recognized the winners of the annual Keeping It Safe (KIS) Coalition’s Student Video Contest on May 1 at the Public Safety Building in Gaithersburg.
DLC Director Bob Dorfman and Acting Police Chief Russ Hamill recognized winning Montgomery County middle and high school students for creating 30-second public service announcements to educate young people about the risks of under 21 alcohol use. There were a total of 44 video submissions from student groups this year.
The winning students received trophies, certificates and cash prizes for their schools.
The high school award winners include:
- First Place: James Hubert Blake High School, Cameron Coleman, Darren Forbai, Natalia Umanzor and school sponsor Heather Emory received a trophy and $1,000 prize.
- Second Place: Albert Einstein High School, Briana Manzanarez, Jenssel Soto, Alfredo Marin, Henry Ramirez and school sponsor Ellen Daniels received a trophy and $500 prize.
- Third Place: Albert Einstein High School, Gian Whigan, Brighton Munjeyi, Lennart Carpio and school sponsor Ellen Daniels received a $250 prize.
- Fourth Place: Montgomery Blair High School, Jacob Holland, Calvin McGlade and school sponsor George Mayo received a $100 prize.
The middle school award winners include:
- First Place: Roberto Clemente Middle School, Sophia Deng, Anna Jurgena, Ally Jones and school sponsor James Dempsey received a trophy and $500 prize.
- Second Place: Roberto Clemente Middle School, Nitya Donthi, Sandra Baigal, Geraldine Pangaribuan and school sponsor James Dempsey, received a trophy and $250 prize.
- Third Place: Roberto Clemente Middle School, Renee Kim, Anusha Krishnan, Sabrina Steale, Sophia Wong and school sponsor James Dempsey received a $100 prize.
- Honorable Mention: Roberto Clemente Middle School, Libby Newton, Daria Melikova, Ava Milisits and school sponsor James Dempsey received Honorable Mention certificates.
The contest was funded by a grant held by the DLC from the Montgomery County Red Light Camera fund.
Founded in 1992, KIS is a coalition of county departments, local organizations and concerned residents that work to deter underage alcohol use and reduce access of alcohol to youth. For more information about the KIS coalition, and to view the winning videos, visit the KIS website here.
Whitman Senior Wins Lockheed Martin Inaugural Scholarship
Katie Stender-Moore, a senior at Walt Whitman High School, was selected as one of 200 students nationwide to be an inaugural Lockheed Martin STEM Scholar. This designation comes with a $40,000 scholarship to study STEM in college, mentorship and internship opportunities. Stender-Moore, a National Merit Finalist, and first team All-State Soccer and All-Met soccer, will study math and engineering, and play soccer at Washington University in St. Louis. Learn more about the program here.
Blair Freshman Wins Youth Volunteer Award
Dhruv Pai, a freshman at Montgomery Blair High School, has been honored with the 2019 Montgomery County Serves, Youth Volunteer of the Year Award. He volunteered at Walter Reed National Medical Center, the KID Museum and Democracy Summer. More on the Montgomery Serves Awards.
Four Edison Students Headed to SkillsUSA National Competition
Four Thomas Edison High School of Technology students earned first place at the annual Maryland State SkillsUSA competition, and will go on to compete at the national competition in Louisville, Ky. in June.
First place winners were:
Prepared Speech: Tyba Kiani
Esthetics: Christine Schelle
Model: Briana Golding
T-shirt Design: Jose Ceballos
Second place winners were:
Esthetics: Rosa Ayala Guardado
Model: Jackelyn Romero
Job Skills Demonstration: Tamia Mack
Employment Application Process: Ivonne Barahona
Technical Computer Application: Rose Griffin
Third place winners were:
Employment Application Process: Jourdan Jones
Advertising Design: Ethan Tucker
Actions Skills: Dona Toneal Tapong
Customer Service: Kendall Reeves
Carpentry: Joseph Dietrich
Electrical Wiring: Michael Allman
Pin Design: Destiny Tran
Extemporaneous Speech: Cole Price
Nail Care: Itai Florian
Model: Nicole Martinez
Pre-ACES Students Package Donations for Youth Service Day
A group of MCPS Pre-Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (Pre-ACES) students from 14 high schools partnered with Montgomery College ACES students to participate in a service learning project celebrating Good Deeds/Youth Service Day. Students visited all three Montgomery College campuses, and packaged donations (along with words of encouragement) that will be donated to Comfort Cases, a local agency that provides personal care items for individuals in foster care. The project encouraged ACES students to be civically involved in the community, while helping them to complete their service learning graduation requirement.