CBHS teacher, students winners in engineering contest

Casco Bay High School science teacher Anne Loughlin and her engineering students are among the grand prize winners in this year’s Autodesk Make It Real Challenge 2020, an engineering competition. The win means CBHS will receive more than $10,000 in makerspace tools for its DIY lab.

“I am so proud of Ms. Loughlin and our engineering students for their creative and provocative solutions for addressing knotty, vital tech and social justice challenges,” Principal Derek Pierce said. “Hooray for Anne and her students!”

This year’s contest was directed at educators in New England interested in teaching their students how to make a difference through design. In the contest’s Make Justice challenge, Loughlin led her students in researching issues of poverty, disaster relief and affordable housing, according to the company’s blog post on the winners at blog.tinkercad.com/make-it-real-2020-grand-prize-award-winners.

Loughlin said her students did research on the future of housing to understand innovations on their way to the marketplace. She encouraged students to design for the context of their oceanside community, resulting in innovative ideas such as a generator influenced by the tides, a solar-powered heater for the homeless population and a caddy for collecting gray water.

“Issues of poverty are part of daily life for many of my students,” said Loughlin, whose students include refugees fleeing violence and persecution. Designs like an emergency shelter made from shipping containers had personal meaning for students whose families had emigrated as refugees, she said.

Loughlin has been teaching science in Portland Schools since 1991 and earned recognition as one of the nation’s top teachers by winning the prestigious Milken Award in 2003. She created CBHS’ Digital Fabrication lab and teaches engineering, STEM investigations and AP environmental science.

New executive director of Portland educational foundation named

The Foundation for Portland Public Schools has selected Andrea “Andi” Weisman Summers as its new executive director, effective April 6. Summers comes from the Great Schools Partnership, where she was co-director of coaching. Great Schools Partnership is a national nonprofit that supports public school improvement and innovation. Prior to that, she worked as a bilingual immigration advocate at the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project for over six years. Summers replaced Kate Snyder, who left in December to serve as mayor of Portland. She has been a Portland resident for over 20 years.

Maine Presidential Scholars announced

Aleshire

Abigail A. Aleshire of Scarborough, who attends Waynflete School, and Glynis O’Meara, who attends Deering High School, were among six Maine students named national semifinalists in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. John Bishop Wahlig III of Falmouth and Jay Raj Philbrick of North Yarmouth were previously announced.

O’Meara

The semifinalist scholars are chosen on the basis of their accomplishments in academic and artistic success, career and technical fields, leadership, and involvement in school and the community. They represent excellence in education and are among the most accomplished youth in the country.

“These graduating seniors exemplify the Maine spirit of hard work, creativity and civic engagement, and I am honored to recognize their achievement,” said Gov. Janet Mills in announcing the finalists. “I know I speak for all of us when I say how proud I am of these young scholars and I look forward to their future contributions to our great state.”

From nearly 3.6 million graduating high school seniors from across the country, over 5,600 students were candidates and 621 semifinalists were selected.