Craik named best overall MESA elementary school, team from North Point advances to national event

Craik named best overall MESA elementary school, team from North Point advances to national event


Dr. James Craik Elementary School earned the 2018 overall Maryland Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) honor at the state competition held May 5. This is the third consecutive year that students from Craik received the best overall elementary school award at the state level.

In addition to the best overall award, Craik MESA teams earned first place in the Balsawood challenge, second place in the Storybook Theme Park Ride challenge and third place in the Effective Communications challenge.

A team from North Point High School earned first place at the state competition in the national engineering design challenge called Arduino STEM Solutions, and advances to the USA National Competition set for June 19-22. First place state-level winners in this challenge advance to the national competition.

Two other Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teams earned awards at the state MESA event. A team from Henry E. Lackey High School earned second place in the PYTHON Cyber Robot challenge, and a Piccowaxen Middle School team earned third place in the Basswood challenge.

The following Craik students participated in the state competition:

Balsawood bridge team – Conley Onyeador, fifth grade, and fourth graders Jamie Herring, Noah Long and Devin Moses.

Storybook Theme Park Ride team – fourth graders Eleanora Jones, Mannat Kaur and Caitlyn Messick, and fifth grader Lainey Mullikin.

Effective Communications team – Nya Whitney, fourth grade, and fifth graders Ada Donohue, Lainey Mullikin, Emonee Rhynes and Cadence Tolbert.

SCRATCH computer programming team – fifth graders Allison Ament, Ava Rowledge and Cadence Tolbert.

Other Craik MESA students include fourth graders Izzah Khan, Georgia Mudd, Morgan Porter, Eli Sheggrud and Gaven Wu, and fifth graders Gable Pauole and Jordyn Tyler. Craik music teacher Susan Steinmetz and fourth-grade teacher Jaime Gesl coach the students.

The North Point Arduino Systems team includes freshman Sahil Patel, sophomore Aryan Patel and junior Nishil Patel. This team advanced to the state event after earning a first-place win at the county event. The team travels to the national event in Philadelphia next month to present their engineering solution before judges. Cecilia Arce Munoz, science teacher at North Point, coaches the team.

Teams must build a prototype using the Arduino software and hardware. Students are judged on components such as a technical interview and poster presentation about their solution, and a five to 10-page report that outlines the team’s design process. Additionally, teams pitch their prototype to a group of judges and provide a demonstration of their prototype. The North Point team is the first Charles County team to advance to the national MESA challenge since 2016.

The award-winning PYTHON Cyber Robot team from Lackey includes sophomore Annie Landgraf, and seniors Justin Stinnett and Andrew Wright. Other Lackey MESA team members include juniors Garrett Batchelor and Raymond Bolton. This team advanced to the state event after earning a first-place win at the county level. Coaches include teachers Lackey engineering teacher Jonathan Liston and science teacher Austin Wood.

Piccowaxen’s Basswood team includes sixth graders Kaitlin Bassford, Sequoia Hamill and Hailey Leonard, and seventh grader Kevin Spell. Piccowaxen science teacher Victoria Farrell coaches the team.

Maryland MESA prepares students for academic and professional careers in mathematics, engineering, science and technology. Goals of the program include increasing the number of engineers, scientists, and mathematicians that enter the workforce, and encouraging the participation of minorities in these fields. 

About CCPS

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 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 Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial 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. 

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