Northern School Notebook: April 7

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North Yarmouth Academy student writer earns national recognition

Afton Morton of South Freeport earned a silver medal for her short story “Playthings of Fear” March 14, when Scholastic announced its national medalists for the 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. This year, nearly 320,000 works of art and writing were submitted; only the top 1 percent were recognized at the national level.

More than 2,200 of the most talented teens from the United States, Washington D.C., and American schools abroad received regional recognition. Morton won three Maine Regional Gold Key Awards earlier this year. Two awards were in the short story category for “Commensalism in Humanity” and “Playthings of Fear.” She won the third Gold Key Award in the flash fiction category for “Under the World of Hurt.” Morton was one of nine Maine students to have their work judged on the national level.

“I usually don’t like to share my writing, so I was hesitant at first about submitting things to a contest. However, I am so glad that I did,” said Morton. “I love writing, so it’s amazing to see that one of my pieces got a Silver Key. I’m really proud but, at the same time, sort of stunned that I was recognized.”

Freeport High School alumni share passion for STEM projects

This summer, several Freeport High School alumni are planning to share their passion for engineering with students entering eighth to 10th grade by operating a four-week camp called “Engineer, Build and Launch It!” being offered through Freeport Community Education.

The camp will run three times a week between June 20 and July 14 at Freeport Middle School.

In 2013, Liam Wade, Nick Nelsonwood, Travis Libsack and Josef Biberstein formed their own company, Limbeck Engineering LLC. They had all taken a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, project design class together at Freeport High School and wanted to use what they learned to design and build their own engineering project.

The group launched Project RoboGoby, which involved many aspects of engineering, and focused on how humans interact with the ocean. Fast-forward several years and the Limbeck team is working on the third generation of a remotely operated unmanned underwater vehicle with autonomous capabilities. Though Libsack and Biberstein attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nelsonwood goes to Princeton and Wade is enrolled at the University of Maine Orono, they have continued to operate their company remotely from college. They have funded their operations through various activities ranging from the sale of T-shirts and crowdfunding to winning the $10,000 University of Maine Business Challenge and being awarded a Maine Technology Institute TechStart grant.

“The idea to run a camp for middle and high school students interested in engineering meets two of our goals,” said Libsack, a sophomore mechanical engineering major at MIT. “We want to continue to fund the evolution of Project RoboGoby and we want to provide opportunities for middle and high school students to have the kind of hands on experience on a STEM project that we had when we formed RoboGoby.”

Biberstein, a freshman at MIT, said, “This is not going to be a theoretical engineering experience. Participants will design and build their own projects, starting with a binary clock and proceeding to an electro-mechanical pneumatic water-balloon launcher.”

“We’ve come a long way since we launched our first generation UUV in my neighbor’s pool,” said Nelsonwood, a sophomore mechanical engineering major at Princeton.

NYA junior to attend Jackson Labs’ summer program

North Yarmouth Academy junior Kiersten Marr of Falmouth was selected to participate in the Summer Student Program at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor. Admission to the 10-week program is competitive, and Marr was one of 46 students selected from over 950 applicants across the country.

The Jackson Laboratory designed the program to help students understand the nature of research, and emphasizes methods of discovery and communication of knowledge. Under the guidance of a mentor, Marr will be integrated into an ongoing research program where she will develop and implement her own independent research project. Specifically, she will be working in the biological and biomedical sciences as applied to genetics.

Marr, who aspires to be a research scientist, said, “This is a great opportunity for me to gain experience in the field, while enjoying the beauty of Bar Harbor. It means a lot to be able to spend the summer getting hands-on experience in a field I am interested in while working under the mentorship of distinguished researchers.”

School for girls plans open house

Coastal Studies for Girls will host an open house April 10 from noon-3 p.m. at the campus located at 308 Wolfe’s Neck Road in Freeport. Tours of the school, led by the admissions team, will run every 20 minutes. In addition, students from the current semester will be available to answer visitors’ questions and explain their science and leadership coursework. The event is open to all who are interested.

Coastal Studies for Girls is now accepting applications from ninth-grade girls for the 2016-17 school year. Each semester, 20 students come from across the country to live for one semester during sophomore year on the shores of Casco Bay. In addition to Leadership and Marine Ecosystems, students study an interdisciplinary place-based curriculum of academic high school courses. CSG’s Marine Ecosystems class is an immersion in scientific fieldwork culminating in a public presentation of individual research projects.

Dean’s lists

Creighton University

Isabella Diamond of Falmouth, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences.

University of Rochester

Georgia C. Caso, a freshman majoring in microbiology

Washington University 

Emily Lunt of Yarmouth

Members and coaches of the Falmouth/Waynflete Girls Alpine Ski Team and the Falmouth High School Boys Basketball Team (shown above) received legislative sentiments after winning their respective 2016 Class A state championships.