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Cascade and Jackson High Schools' students earn awards over spring break

The Cascade and Jackson High Schools’ robotics teams faced off against 64 other school teams at a robotics competition held the last weekend of March, 2013.
Cascade High School robotics team works on their “bot” during the March 28, 2013 regional competition. Photo credit: Everett Public Schools.

Robotics students, advisors and graphic and video arts students bring home honors

By Mary Waggoner, Everett Public Schools Director of Communications.

The Cascade High School FIRST Robotics team faced off against 64 other school teams during the regional competition in Seattle held the last weekend in March, 2013. The group’s thirteenth place finish is especially impressive because it is their rookie season. “They even earned the Rookie Inspiration Award,” noted CHS principal Cathy Woods. “Lots of credit goes to their staff advisor Linda Anderson and the community volunteers who have worked with the kids to make this first season so exciting and so successful. I can’t wait to see the results from a second year!”

H.M. Jackson High students also competed in the March FIRST competition. This experienced "Team 2910 Jack in the Bot" group has been wowing crowds since it entered its “first” FIRST in 2009. 

This year’s win of the Engineering Inspiration Award, the second highest honor for a veteran team to win, has qualified them to compete in the world championship in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Engineering Inspiration Award is given in recognition of a team’s outstanding efforts in advancing respect/appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school and their community. 

This year Jack in the Bot also earned the Gracious Professionalism Award for the way they work together and help other teams with their projects. The award celebrates outstanding sportsmanship and gracious professionalism in the heat of competition, on and off the playing field.

It is no surprise that the Jackson High team’s advisor and coach Maggie Thorleifson was honored with the Community Service Award because of the amazing outreach efforts she has inspired in her team.

Not only do Thorleifson’s team members collaborate with other teams when competing, they’ve been partners with the fledgling Cascade High team, helping that group get started. “We are just as proud of the CHS team as we are of our accomplishments,” said Thorleifson. “Science is all about working together, and I’m so proud of the way these students live the spirit of learning and working together.”

Cascade and Jackson high teams also did well in other pre-spring-break science competitions.

The Cascade Technology Student Organization (TSA) competed at a state level competition in Bellevue the last weekend in March. “Students took first place in video production, second in on-demand video and fourth in graphic design. These students are excelling in the communications techniques of today and are setting examples and the groundwork for techniques of tomorrow – in large part because of the expertise and mentorship of staff advisor Scott Shafer,” Woods noted.

TSA from H.M. Jackson High had another strong year as well at state the last weekend of March.  With 39 students from Jackson competing, some students placed more than once in several categories. Students may compete in animatronics, dragster design, video gaming, flight challenge, and more. 

“We placed 19 times in the top five places. We placed 10 times in the top 3 places. This year we have 21 students qualifying to go to nationals.  In addition JHS now has three state officers: Viante R. Dile-Basnight, Sai Nimmagadda and Sri Nimmagadda,” said Rick Wigre, TSA Advisor.

The Technology Student Organization (TSA) is a non-profit national student organization.  Its mission is to inspire its student members to prepare for careers in a technology-driven economy and culture.  TSA’s membership includes 200,000 middle and high school students in 2,000 schools spanning 48 states.

Imagine an activity so captivating that your students spend hours working on it after school for weeks at a time. That’s what happens when TSA members engage in TSA’s competitions. Only TSA members have the opportunity to compete at exciting state conferences and then at the annual National Conference.  Expert judging by technology educators and industry representatives inspires the best from participants.  Members are rewarded not only with medals or trophies, but also with memories of the camaraderie and the challenge of a TSA Conference.