Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

County students named Carson Scholars

Three Charles County Public Schools students were recently named 2014 Carson Scholars, a national distinction that recognizes academic achievement and humanitarian qualities as well as provides a $1,000 college scholarship.

Selected from Charles County Public Schools are Stephen Duranske, seventh grade, John Hanson Middle School; Alyssa Gerhart, fifth grade, William B. Wade Elementary School; and Alyssa Norris, J.P. Ryon Elementary School. These students are among 510 nationwide recognized through the Carson Scholars Fund this year.

Fifteen previous Carson Scholars received a scholarship renewal this year. They are: Carla Arquero, freshman, North Point High School; Owen Butler, sixth grade, Piccowaxen Middle School; Sarah Chen, freshman, Maurice J. McDonough High School; Brett Culhane, freshman, Henry E. Lackey High School; Tyler Dixon, freshman, La Plata High School; Christian Fisher, sophomore, North Point; Jessica Green, junior, North Point; Shane Gregan, seventh grade, Hanson; Aryanna Ilamni, eighth grade, Mattawoman Middle School; Nicole Lusk, junior, La Plata; Madison Mote, eighth grade, Piccowaxen; Caitie O’Donnell, junior, North Point; Gabrielle Sandy, sophomore, Lackey; Connor Smith, freshman, North Point; and Dennis Whitley, sophomore, North Point.

Scholars who are recognized through a renewed scholarship status are recognized for maintaining high academic standards and a strong commitment to their communities.

Each year, the Carson Scholars Fund awards $1,000 college scholarships to a select group of high achieving students in grades four through 11 who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and humanitarian qualities. Students must have a minimum 3.75 grade-point average to be considered. The scholarships are invested for the students’ college education.

The Maryland recipients will be honored at an awards banquet on April 6. Each recipient will receive a medal and framed certificate of achievement and their school will receive a trophy recognizing the scholar’s accomplishment.

The Carson Scholars Fund was founded in 1994 by world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Benjamin S. Carson and his wife, Candy, to motivate and reward academic excellence in young people. To date, the Carson Scholars Fund has awarded more than 6,200 scholarships and has scholars in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

For more information, visit the Carson Scholars website at

Two middle school robotics teams head to world challenge

Two Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) robotics teams advance to the VEX Robotics World Competition next month after qualifying at the state event held March 8. The teams are from John Hanson and Piccowaxen middle schools and are two of 10 CCPS teams that competed at the state level.

Team 9316B from Hanson won the state Tournament Champion Award in the challenge. The challenge, titled “Toss Up,” is divided into qualifying rounds, team alliance selection rounds and elimination rounds in which teams maneuver their robots to compete in a 12-foot by 12-foot square area. Teams compete in matches consisting of a programming period followed by a period of driver-controlled play. The object of the game is to score the most points by scoring balls in designated goal zones.

As the Tournament Champion Award winner, the Hanson team advances to the national challenge. Members of the team are eighth graders Anthony Aceto, Tyler Cataldo, Hunter Donn, Emily Parent, Joshua Riddle and Charlie Rodriguez, and sixth grader Cody Flerlage. The team coach is Dan Meltsner, a computer teacher at Hanson.

Team 5679B from Piccowaxen advances to the national event through their overall skill ranking received at the state event. Team members are seventh graders Andrew Fan, Matthew Jozwik, Zachary Shingleton and Andrew Vennemann, and sixth grader Conor Vienneau. Parent Joseph Fan is the team coach.

Teams are responsible for designing, building and programming an innovative robot to use in the event. The teams from Hanson and Piccowaxen competed at the state event by qualifying at regional competitions hosted by the College of Southern Maryland. The VEX Robotics program is one of several coordinated to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields.

The state competition was held at the Carroll County Agricultural Center.

Students advance to state Destination Imagination competition

More than 800 Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students competed in the regional Destination Imagination competition held Saturday, March 15, at North Point High School. Fifty-three teams advance to the state-level competition, scheduled for April 5 at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

More than 119 teams from Charles County public elementary, middle and high schools, and regional private schools, competed to solve one of six problems in the long-term academic event that challenges students to work together to apply creativity, critical thinking skills and unique talents. Challenges are separated into three levels of competition: elementary, middle and high. Teams that place at the regional event advance to the state tournament.

The following Charles County teams placed in the top four spots at the regional Destination Imagination tournament.

Winners in the Dig In challenge are:

-- Elementary: Mary H. Matula Elementary School, Matula Champions team, first place; William A. Diggs Elementary School, Diggs Clever Dragons team, second place; Indian Head Elementary School, Indian Head The Zombie Destroyers team, third place; and Diggs, Diggs Space Hawks team, fourth place.

-- Middle: Purple Pandas of Awes team, independent team, first place.

-- High: Thomas Stone High School, Thomas Stone DI Like Donuts team, first place; North Point High School, North Point AC/DI team, second place; North Point, North Point Umm… What?! team, third place; and Henry E. Lackey High School, Lackey “Wolfpack” team, fourth place.

The Purple Pandas of Awes team competed at the middle-school level because the team was entered into the event based on age, and not by school or school level. Teams can either register as elementary, middle or high school competitors, or can register by the ages of team members.

Winners in the Going to Extremes challenge are:

-- Elementary: Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School, Jenifer DInamite team, first place; Diggs, Diggs N.B.G. team, second place; Eva Turner Elementary School, Eva Turner Astronomers team, third place; and Dr. Thomas L. Higdon Elementary School, Higdon Almighty Hedgehogs team, fourth place.

-- Middle: Milton M. Somers Middle School, Somers DI-namic Minions team, first place; Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, Stoddert Boa Constructors team, second place; Theodore G. Davis Middle School, Davis Magic Cheery Os team, third place; and General Smallwood Middle School, Smallwood’s Toaster Elephants team, fourth place.

-- High: La Plata High School, La Plata LIL PPL “HATE” Science team, first place; and Lackey, Lackey Fabuloso team, second place.

Winners in the Laugh Art Loud challenge are:

-- Elementary: Indian Head Elementary School, Indian Head Little Rascals team, first place; Dr. James Craik Elementary School, Craik’s Creative Tigers team, second place; J.P. Ryon Elementary School, J.P. Ryon Comical Cardinals team, third place; and Turner, Eva Turner Artists team, fourth place.

-- Middle: Piccowaxen Middle School, Piccowaxen Holy Hungry Bunch team, first place; Somers, Somers Starry Nights team, second place; Matthew Henson Middle School, Henson DI Gummy Bears 2 team, third place; and Henson, Henson Imaginators team, third place.

-- High: Lackey, Lackey Ghost Zombie Kneecaps 411 team, first place; Stone, Stone Cold Ladies team, second place; and Maurice J. McDonough High School, McDonough DELTA IOTAS, third place.

Winners in the Pandemonium challenge are:

-- Elementary: Berry Elementary School, Berry Sparkling DI-amonds team, first place; St. Peter’s School, Lightning Bolts team, second place; Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School, Mitchell Huskies team, third place; and William B. Wade Elementary School, Wade DIspicable PIBBIA team, fourth place.

-- Middle: Davis, Davis DI’nception team, first place; Davis, Davis Ditwaca team, second place; Stoddert, Stoddert ImproVessionals team, second place; and Smallwood, General Smallwood Mindless Turtles team, fourth place.

-- High: North Point, North Point Broken Fingers team, first place; North Point, North Point of No Return team, second place; La Plata and North Point, La Plata/North Point TGSAW team, third place; and La Plata, La Plata T.R.U.E. team, fourth place.

The team from La Plata and North Point competed at the high-school level together because the team was comprised of students from both schools.

Winners in the The Tension Builds challenge are:

-- Elementary: St. Peter’s, St. Peter’s Artistic Tension team, first place; J.C. Parks Elementary School, Parks Z Factor Constructors team, second place; Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School, Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Building Beavers team, third place; and Indian Head, Indian Head Through the Clues team, fourth place.

-- Middle: St. Peter’s, St. Peter’s Nervous Wrecks team, first place; Henson, Henson TJM2DIVAS team, second place; and Piccowaxen, Piccowaxen Monumental team, third place.

-- High: North Point, North Point’s Supreme DI-eties, first place.

Winners in the Project Outreach: Pitch & Play challenge are:

-- Elementary: Craik, Craik’s Servicemen of Action team, first place; and Parks, Parks Recycling Seven team, second place.

-- Middle: St. Mary’s Bryantown School, WiFi Warriors team, first place; and Somers, Somers LunaSixes team, second place.

Additionally, the following teams earned special awards:

-- Spirit of DI Award – for exceptional spirit, teamwork, volunteerism and sportsmanship – Indian Head Little Rascals team and North Point’s Supreme DI-eties team.

-- The Renaissance Award – for exceptional skill in the areas of design, engineering or performance – Jenifer DInamite team and Stone DI Like Donuts team.

-- DaVinci Award – for exceptional creativity, a unique approach to the problem and/or risk taking – Somers DI-namic Minions team.

-- Torch Bearer Award – for teams whose solutions have had an extraordinary impact in and beyond their local communities – Craik’s Serviceman of Action team.

The event is sponsored by Charles County Public Schools. Destination Imagination is an international program dedicated to enhancing the learning skills, creative problem solving skills, team skills, sportsmanship and knowledge of all students.

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