Baxter Academy wins sixth engineering award

Baxter Academy for Technology and Science’s FIRST robotics team, the Outliers, claimed a sixth engineering award at the Greater Boston District Event on March 23. The judges awarded the team the Autonomous Controls Engineering Award, making the Outliers one of 23 teams in the world (out of 3,790 active teams) to receive all six FIRST engineering awards. The 6-year-old team is the youngest to win the hexfecta.

The Outliers also won the district event in Revere. It was the team’s fifth consecutive district competition, a winning streak that spans two seasons. They are ranked second in New England going into Maine’s Pine Tree district event April 4-6 in Lewiston.

This year’s FIRST challenge theme is “Deep Space” and the judges lauded the Outliers’ robot for its vision tracking system. The team programmed their robot, nicknamed Freddie, to automatically speed up, slow down, and hone in on “rocket ship” panels and “cargo” balls, which the robot manipulates around the playing field. 

The team’s coach, Jon Amory, believes the students’ dedication to their work has been the primary reason for their success. “They had a clear idea about what they wanted to do and got the core design completed early. This gave them time to do lots of prototypes for the rest of the robot.”

The following local students are members of the Outliers who attend Baxter Academy, a public charter school: Emmalyn Armstrong, Elwen Bernard, Nate Desjardins and Nick Walsh and Spencer Doughty of Portland; George Holt of Cumberland, Maxine Ewing and Jacob Lorenzo of Falmouth, Toby Roy of Durham; Connor DuPuy of Scarborough;  Jacob Way, Riley Donschikowski and Dennis Slobodzian of South Portland and Ben Mills of North Yarmouth. 

Most members of the Outliers robotics team have committed roughly 300 hours to the season on top of their school days. Some of the students have spent nearly 600 hours building and testing the robot. Adam Dustin, a senior, said the hours are rewarding. “This team knows how to work together really well. We’re good at balancing competitiveness with sanity.” Ruby Peterman agreed, saying “I became interested in the robotics team last year when I went to a competition. It was a really positive environment. I expected a bunch of angry teenagers battling it out, but everyone was really polite and supportive.”

Dirigo Girls and Boys State delegates selected in Falmouth

Falmouth High School Principal Peter Badalament announce that eight Falmouth High School juniors have been selected to serve as delegates for this year’s American Legion Dirigo Boys and Girls State programs. Attending Dirigo Girls State at Husson University from June 16-21 are Katalina Echavarri, Maddy Marks, Haley Stark, and Kelly Yoon.

Girls State includes the operation of a model Senate and House of Representatives and County Officer’s meetings. Bills of current concern to youth are debated and acted on through the same procedure as that of the regular state government. 

Dirigo Boys State will be held at Thomas College in Waterville from June 16-20. Representing Falmouth High School are Kameron Ali, Joseph DiPhilippo, Francis Kiely, and Benjamin Potter. In this week-long program, the students role-play and learn to campaign for local, county, and state offices. They then organize and carry out the functions of the state government.

The Falmouth Middle School Team finished third at Maine State Science Olympiad on March 30. From left are Audrey Farnham, Brynne Mittleider, Grace Fletcher, Jasmine Lucas, Isaac Seeker, Alex Li, Patrick Wahlig, Colton Nelson, Arsh Agihotri, Alice Boudreau and Madeleine Moser.