Greely student participates in summer program at MIT

Greely High School student Joseph Gilbert recently completed four weeks of courses at the 2019 MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Gilbert was among 240 students from high schools around the nation who were selected to participate in the program.

BWSI is a summer engineering program for rising high school seniors. Students worked on hands-on projects, took online courses and attended lectures presented by leading scientific researchers. The program is hosted by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Beaver Works Center, a research center in Cambridge jointly chartered by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the MIT School of Engineering and the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The diversity of the courses is intended to appeal to a wide variety of talented students. Students in the RACECAR course programmed miniature self-driving cars, integrating sensors and collision avoidance logic to allow the cars to navigate complex racetracks. The students learned how to work together to test their software to recognize signs, follow a path, and avoid obstacles.

Three Portland students named National Merit semifinalists

Three high school seniors in the Portland Public Schools have been named semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. The students now have the opportunity to compete for about 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.

The three semifinalists are Julia Ayer of Portland High School, David Botana of  Casco Bay High School and Glynis O’Meara of Deering High School.

The students are among 73 Maine seniors named of 16,000 Semifinalists nationwide, representing less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors, according to the nonprofit National Merit organization.

Of the 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level. Of those finalists, about half will win a National Merit Scholarship and become National Merit Scholars.

Maine’s top youth volunteers being tapped for scholarship

Through Nov. 5, students in grades 5-12 who have made meaningful contributions through volunteerism are invited to apply for a $1,000 scholarship through the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.

Students must complete the online application at, then submit the application for certification to their principal or head of a local participating organization. Certifiers review all applications for their school or organization, then select a local honoree to nominate for state-level judging. Applications can be certified by a middle or high school principal or head of a Girl Scout council, county 4-H organization, American Red Cross chapter, YMCA or a Points of Light Global Network member. A paper application can be requested by calling 888-651-2951.

One of Maine’s top youth volunteers of 2019 was Isabel Brennan, 18, of Yarmouth, who has been a leader in a local program that provides a breakfasts and lunches, as well as supervised activities on summer weekdays, for kids whose families may not be able to afford three meals a day,