Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs - Southern Maryland Headline News

Charles Co. Public Schools News Briefs

Pictured is the We're Vexy and We Know It VEX Robotics team from John Hanson Middle School, who advances to the 2016 VEX Worlds - VEX Robotics Competition in April after receiving a top award at the state level Feb. 20. From left are Hanson students Alyssa Norris, Yachi Madaan, Jacob Stern, Andrew Parent and Coach Dan Meltsner. Pictured is the We're Vexy and We Know It VEX Robotics team from John Hanson Middle School, who advances to the 2016 VEX Worlds - VEX Robotics Competition in April after receiving a top award at the state level Feb. 20. From left are Hanson students Alyssa Norris, Yachi Madaan, Jacob Stern, Andrew Parent and Coach Dan Meltsner.

Hanson VEX Robotics team advances to world championship

A VEX Robotics team from John Hanson Middle School, the We're Vexy and We Know It team, advances to the 2016 VEX Worlds—VEX Robotics Competition in April after receiving a top award at the state event held Feb. 20. The team of seventh graders Yachi Madaan, Alyssa Norris, Andrew Parent and Jacob Stern received the Design Award among competing middle school teams. This award is given to a team that demonstrates an organized and professional approach to the design process, project and time management and team organization.

As recipients of the Design Award, the team will compete in the world championship event April 20-23 in Louisville at the Kentucky Exposition Center. This year's challenge, titled "Nothing But Net," is divided into qualifying rounds, team alliance selection rounds and elimination rounds in which teams maneuver their robots in a 12-foot-by-12-foot square field. The object of the challenge is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance by scoring balls and bonus balls in low and high goals, and by elevating robots to established climbing zones.

The team advanced to the state event after receiving the Design Award at the regional competition. The 2016 VEX Worlds event is presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation and will feature top robotics teams from across the United States.

Daniel Meltsner is the team coach and teaches technology education at Hanson. In addition to the We're Vexy and We Know It team, Meltsner coaches three other VEX robotics teams at Hanson. An additional team, the S.C.A.M. team, received the Sportsmanship Award at the state event. This award is given to the team that earns the respect and admiration from volunteers and other competing teams. Teams are chosen for being courteous, helpful and respectful and demonstrating excitement and enthusiasm throughout the event.

The S.C.A.M. team includes Hanson seventh grader Ryann Brown and eighth graders Michael Mazuc, Liliana Sachsel and Jacob Smith.

Teams from Piccowaxen Middle School also competed at the state event after qualifying at the regional level. A total of 24 teams from Maryland competed at the state level.

Board hosting Town Hall for CCPS support staff

The Board of Education of Charles County is hosting a Town Hall for Charles County Public Schools support staff at 5 p.m. tonight, Monday, Feb. 29 in the boardroom at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building. The meeting is open to the public. The purpose of the Town Hall is to provide support staff with an opportunity to ask questions and discuss items about education and schools.

The Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building is located at 5980 Radio Station Road, La Plata, Md., 20646.

STEM science camps to explore land, air and ice

The James E. Richmond Science Center will host several science summer camps from June through August for students in grades four through eight interested in keeping their STEM knowledge sharp. Three sessions are available for registration; the cost of each session is $245 per week with a one-time, nonrefundable registration fee of $40 per student. Early bird registration is $225 per week if completed by June 1.

All sessions run from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. and campers will have to bring their own lunch. Transportation will not be provided. All sessions will include a daily swim period, with activities for students who do not want to swim. Swimmers will need to bring their bathing suit and towel. Snacks and water will be provided during each session. Before care is available for $10 per day and starts at 7 a.m.

Registration is available online at All sessions will be led by Charles County Public Schools teachers.

The following is session information:

• June 20 to June 24—Expedition Earth—Students will learn more about the Earth's systems and how they interact with each other. The camp will feature "Dynamic Earth" in the center's digital theater. Students will see real-time weather data on the Science on a Sphere, explore the area's wetlands and geology, have volcano races, build a weather station and create weather such as snow, clouds, tornadoes and lightning.

• June 27 to July 1—Polar Explorer—Students will explore Antarctic terrain with robots, communicate like penguins and complete an Arctic maze to take home. The camp will feature "Wonders of the Arctic" in the digital theater. There will be real-time snow and ice data on the Science on a Sphere, penguin communication games, building robots for an Antarctic terrain and making liquid nitrogen or dry ice ice cream.

• Aug. 22 through Aug. 26—Up, Up and Away! The Science of Flight—Due to the popularity of last year's camp, it is making a comeback. Students will learn about the theories of flight and construct several items that can fly, from a basic paper airplane to a hot air balloon. Activities include a viewing of "Dream to Fly" in the digital theater, exploring flight patterns on the Science on a Sphere and digitally built gliders and rockets.

Visit for more information on Science Center events. Email with questions. The center is in St. Charles High School in Waldorf.

McDonough Bocce team wins third place state award

A Unified Bocce team from Maurice J. McDonough High School received a third place state award at the Special Olympics Maryland 2016 State High School Indoor Bocce Tournament held Feb. 11 at Hagerstown Community College. The team received third place among eight teams competing in division three of the event.

Members of the team include students Ingrid Braun, senior; Keydrea Harris, freshman; Michael Malherek, senior; Aaron Morphew, sophomore; Robert Mullins, Adult Independence Program (AIP) student; Jodie Parlett, senior; and Michael Proctor, AIP student. Coaches of the team are David Bradshaw, physical education teacher at McDonough, and Jeff Mathews, special education teacher at McDonough.

The state event was separated into four levels of competition—divisions one through four—and students from Henry E. Lackey, La Plata, McDonough and Westlake high school competed. Teams that win first place at the regional level are invited to compete at the state event. Teams are split into divisions of competition according to criteria such as age, gender and physical ability levels to ensure that all participants have equal opportunities to participate and be recognized for being a part of a team.

Unified sports teams are composed of a combination of students with and without abilities who train together and compete against other unified teams. Bocce is a sport played on a bocce court, or an area of play featuring a hard surface. The goal of the sport is to roll a bocce ball closest to a target ball, which is called a pallina. Teams earn points for how close their bocce balls roll or end near the pallina.

A total of 32 teams from schools in Allegany, Baltimore City, Charles, Frederick, Garrett, Montgomery, Prince George's and Washington counties participated. CCPS partnered with Special Olympics Maryland in 2008 to offer high school students of all abilities the opportunity to participate in sports programs. Participation in the CCPS Unified sports program has increased over the past several school years. For more information, visit the Special Olympics Maryland website at

Middle school students compete in annual volleyball tournament

Earlier this month, Charles County Public Schools held its annual volleyball tournament for middle school students. Teams from all eight middle schools competed in the event Feb. 2 and 4 at Henry E. Lackey and La Plata high schools. Students compete on grade-level teams and are separated into boys' teams and girls' teams. The following is a list of final results with the top four team placements.

Eighth-grade boys

• Milton M. Somers Middle School, first place;

• Piccowaxen Middle School, second place;

• Theodore G. Davis Middle School, third place; and

• John Hanson Middle School, fourth place.

Eighth-grade girls

• Somers, first place;

• Matthew Henson Middle School, second place;

• Piccowaxen, third place; and

• Davis, fourth place.

Seventh-grade boys

• Somers, first place;

• Piccowaxen, second place;

• Davis, third place; and

• Hanson, fourth place.

Seventh-grade girls

• Piccowaxen, first place;

• Somers, second place;

• General Smallwood Middle School, third place; and

• Henson, fourth place.

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