Students compete in MESA challenges, advance to state competition

News Release, Charles County Public Schools

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teams competed in the regional Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) events held April 11 and 12 at North Point High School. Overall winners were selected at the elementary-, middle- and high-school levels.

“MESA will help me in my career path,” said Brian Thomas, a Westlake High School senior who became involved with MESA in eighth grade. “I want to major in computer science. It’s a high-paying profession and a growing one. Technology is consistently advancing, and I want to be ahead of it.”

Thomas isn’t the only one laying a foundation for a future occupation with the help of MESA. MacKenna Zopelis, a seventh grader at Milton M. Somers Middle School, was a member of the school’s team that took on the wearable technology challenge. “I want to be a NICU nurse,” she said. “I want to learn more about the job and technology. I think MESA is a good way to be involved in your academics.”

Teams that earned a first-place award at the Charles County regional event advance to the state-level competition. The advancing teams are from C. Paul Barnhart, William A. Diggs and Dr. Gustavus Brown elementary schools; Piccowaxen, Matthew Henson and General Smallwood middle schools; and La Plata and North Point high schools. They advance to the state competition set for May 18 at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel.

First-, second- and third-place teams in each challenge receive awards and one overall winner is chosen at each level. The teams that earn the most points throughout the competition are chosen as the overall winners.

Elementary school teams compete in four challenges: Interactive Game Design with Scratch, Storybook Theme Park Ride, Wood Bridge and Wearable Technology.

The following teams placed at the elementary level:

Interactive Game Design with Scratch:

  • C. Paul Barnhart first place;
  • Diggs, second place; and
  • Mt. Hope/Nanjemoy Elementary School, third place.

Storybook Theme Park Ride:

  • Diggs, first place;
  • Mary H. Matula, second place; and
  • Dr. James Craik Elementary School, third place.

Wood Bridge:

  • Dr. Brown, first place;
  • Gale-Bailey Elementary School, second place; and
  • Diggs, third place.

Wearable Technology:

  • Diggs, first place;
  • Craik, second place; and
  • Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School, third place.

Middle school teams compete in four challenges: Interactive Game Design with Alice, National Engineering Design Competition, Wood Bridge and Wearable Technology. The following teams placed at the middle-school level:

Interactive Game Design with Alice:

  • Piccowaxen, first place;
  • Milton M. Somers Middle School, second place; and
  • Smallwood, third place.

National Engineering Design Competition:

  • Henson, first place;
  • Piccowaxen, second place; and
  • John Hanson Middle School, third place.

Wood Bridge:

  • Piccowaxen, first place;
  • Smallwood, second place; and
  • Somers, third place.

Wearable Technology:

  • Smallwood, first place;
  • Somers, second place; and
  • Mattawoman Middle School, third place.

High school teams also compete in four challenges: Cyber Robot v2.0, National Engineering Design Competition, Wood Bridge and Wearable Technology.

Cyber Robot v2.0

  • North Point High School, first place;
  • Henry E. Lackey High School, second place; and
  • Westlake High School, third place.

National Engineering Design Competition:

  • North Point, first place; and
  • Lackey, second place.

Wood Bridge:

  • North Point, first place;
  • Lackey, second place; and
  • Thomas Stone High School, third place.

Wearable Technology:

  • La Plata, first place;
  • Lackey, second place; and
  • Stone, third place.

CCPS teams compete as a separate Maryland MESA region due to a high level of participation. Maryland MESA is designed to prepare students for academic and professional careers in mathematics, engineering, science and technology.

The program’s goals are to increase the number of engineers, scientists, mathematicians and related professionals at technical and management levels; and to serve as a driving force in encouraging and assisting minorities and females in achieving success in these fields. For more information about MESA, go to  

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