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MESA teams place in state competition

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teams recently competed in the 2022 Maryland State Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Virtual Showcase on Saturday, May 7, hosted by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

Teams from J.P. Ryon, Walter J. Mitchell and William A. Diggs elementary schools; Matthew Henson and Piccowaxen middle schools; and La Plata and North Point high schools participated in the event with J.P. Ryon winning first-place in the Mobile App Design Challenge.

Ryon’s school coordinators, Keena Skinner and Bianca Valdez, both agreed that seeing the growth that the students in the MESA program develop is a rewarding aspect of their roles. “The most rewarding part about being a MESA coordinator is watching scholars' confidence grow and their ability to persevere when things get tough.” Skinner said. “You also get to see leaders starting to present themselves throughout the process.”

Valdez agreed with Skinner. “The best part of being a MESA coach is seeing their hard work finally come together. They are so excited when they develop a project that works and that they are proud of,” she said. “When students join the elementary MESA program, it is often their first major experience solving intense STEM challenges. They are faced with the design engineering process of constantly having to redesign and retest.”

Valdez said that seeing the joy and excitement from the students after they have developed a successful project contributes to her returning each year as a coordinator. “Seeing the amazing things they create keeps me going back to MESA year after year,” Valdez said.

The following teams placed at the state competition on the elementary-school level.

J.P. Ryon Elementary School
Mobile App Design Challenge, first place

  • Kevin Mejia Trochez, fifth-grade student.
  • Micah Brown, fourth-grade student.
  • Mateo Bradford, fourth-grade student.
  • Madison Walton-Johnson, fourth-grade student.

School coordinators are Bianca Watson and Keena Skinner, fifth-grade teachers at Ryon.

William A. Diggs Elementary School
Wearable Technology Challenge, second place

  • Zeina Amin, fifth-grade student.
  • Imani Moultrie, fourth-grade student.
  • Jaiden Smith, fifth-grade student.

School coordinators are Traci Davis, kindergarten teacher at Diggs, Michael Johnson, science teacher at Diggs and Jennifer Everett, preschool instructional assistant at Diggs.

Expanding Structure, second place

  • Zendaya Harris, fourth-grade student.
  • Reev Gaudren, fifth-grade student.
  • Gilbert Dean, fourth-grade student.
  • David Okoli, fifth-grade student.

School coordinators are Davis, Johnson and Everett.

Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School
Storybook Theme Park Ride, second place

  • Jace Williams, fifth-grade student.
  • Dylan Thompson, fifth-grade student.
  • Kylie Dietrich, fourth-grade student.
  • Teagan Rooney, fourth-grade student.

School coordinators are Clarissa Roper, art teacher at Mitchell and Mollie Wathen, second-grade teacher at Mitchell.

The following team placed on the middle-school level.

Piccowaxen Middle School
Wearable Technology, third place

  • Bianka Magana, sixth-grade student.
  • Addison Mudd, eighth-grade student.
  • Kinsey Mudd, eighth-grade student.
  • Rowan Leonard, sixth-grade student.

School coordinators are Sherri Gibney and Victoria Farrell, science teachers at Piccowaxen.

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 27,000 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).