Hancock students take home honors at regional, state competitions

Two Hancock High School construction students took first place in the Annual U.P. Construction Skills Challenge, in Negaunee Township on April 28, while the Barkell Elementary School Girls Who Code team also earned honors at the V2X Statewide Competition, a release from Superintendent Steve Patchins’ office stated.

Eric Simonson and Lance Hammerstrom were two of five from the Copper Country Intermediate School District to achieve such distinction, said the release. Both students placed in the Construction competition. Two other members of the Copper Country ISD team were Sharon Colbert, of Calumet, and John Huuki, of Houghton.

“The boys are impressive,” said Patchin. “They are in the CTE Program. But the Girls Who Code wins are huge.”

Barkell Elementary hosts one of the only Girls Who Code after school programs in the U.P., said Patchin.

Using robotics and coding skills these girls learned in their STEM Special classes and in their Girls Who Code club, then formed a team to compete in this statewide competition against their peers.

The Square One Education Network recently conducted the V2X contest for elementary students. The contest was created to assist in educating students in how self-driving (autonomous) vehicles work. The contest involves writing computer codes, using Arduino and sensor technology to interact with the physical environment and control autonomous robotic vehicles, the release states.

The team placed first in the CS Superstars category showing their skills in coding, the release states. The team also placed second in the Elementary V2X Performance Awards.

“Special Thanks to their teachers Genevieve Nordmark and Abby Kunzleman (STEM Special teachers) and Gladys Dupuis (Girls Who Code advisor),” said Patchin.

The Barkell Girls Who Code team includes third graders Bailey Goodall, Rowyn Beutler, Ciara Isaacson, Adara Jarvi, Greta Maunu, Quinn Robertson, Isabelle Pennala, Rogue Pelto, Penny Lehtola; fourth graders Jayla Buetler, Alaina Diedrich, Jada Klein, Cathy Farrell, Aaliyah Hansen, Avery Roberts; and fifth graders Eloise Pemala, and Ava Heinonen.

The girls used Microbits and Yahboom Tinybit cars to complete challenges such as coding the robot to follow a line, communicate with other robots, avoid obstacles, and stay between the lines of a “road.” They also 3D printed tiny houses to deliver pizza to as they completed the challenges, the release states. The competition started in February and ran until May 4.

“This is a big thing that Square One put through,” said Patchin, “so, they were basically programming the autonomous vehicles. This is what they did. These are third, fourth and fifth graders.”


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