Marion, Northwood Compete in Smyth County Computer Science Bowl
Students from Marion Senior High and Northwood High/Northwood Middle Schools competed in the first ever Smyth County Computer Science Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 2. The two teams competed in coding and robotics events. Northwood High/Northwood Middle won the coding event and Marion Senior High won the robotics event. NHS/NMS was the overall winner. The competition was funded with an after-school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) grant from the Virginia Department of Education. The competition's goals were to encourage students to consider STEM careers and develop their computer science and problem solving skills. During the competition, they were given two hours to solve 10 coding problems. They also built their robots from scratch, using 3D-printed parts and the Arduino microcontroller platform. Pictured, l-r, are Ethan Surber, NMS; Matthew Hutton, NHS; Caleb Johnson, NMS; Tyler Widener, MSHS; Ethan Blevins, MSHS; Katelyn Collett, MSHS; Delaney Bumgarner, NMS; Ema Haga, NMS; and Vincent Gullion, MSHS.
The Computer Science Bowl will return in Spring 2018 with a cybersecurity event and a robotics event that will feature the competitors building a Segway clone.
Northwood Middle Team Excels in Regional Lego Robotics Tournament
The Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center hosted the 9th annual Lego Robotics Tournament for Southwest Virginia on November 11, 2017. There were 30 teams that participated, 15 in Division I (8 to 11 year olds) and 15 in Division II (12 to 14). Each year Lego Robotics presents the teams with a real-world problem and the teams have to come up with an innovative solution, program a robot and complete robot missions centered around the problem, and work on the Core Values with their teammates and members of their community. This year the challenge was on the human water cycle. Northwood Middle School had a team of six, the Aquifer Irrigators, that participated in Division II of the tournament. They placed third in the robot challenge and won the Overall Judges Award for their project on alternative irrigation. Pictured left to right: Gus Vencill, Clayton Buchanan, Hannah Wilson, Ethan Surber, Gage Foran, and Reid Collins.
Northwood Middle School Wins County Beautification Award
Northwood Middle School is a winner of the 2017 Chamber of Commerce of Smyth County Beautification Award, for the work the school completed on a tiled garden area at the entrance of the school. Shown accepting the award on behalf of the school is NMS principal Mariann Blevins.
MSHS Hurricane Players Win First Place in Sectional Theatre Festival
The MSHS Hurricane Players won the 2017 VHSL Sectional One-Act Theatre Festival on Saturday, November 4. The ensemble is performing the play Dark Road, by Laura Lundgren Smith. Sara Goetzinger and Faith Hannula received All-Section Cast awards. Luke Sage won Best Actor and Lily Gray was voted Best Actress.
Atkins Elementary School Starts New Fitness Program for Students
Atkins Elementary School has received new indoor and outdoor fitness equipment thanks to a grant from the Wellmont Foundation and Children's Miracle Network. The grant brings the Project Fit America model student health and fitness program to Atkins Elementary students. The program provides state-of-the art fitness equipment, curriculum, and on-site teacher training. The school celebrated the receipt of the equipment with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 29.
Smyth County Teacher of the Year Honored by Va. Dept. of Education
Smyth County teacher Chrystle Gates was among the eight finalists for the 2017-2018 Virginia Teacher of the Year. Ms. Gates, an elementary music teacher, is the Smyth County Teacher of the Year and the Region 7 Teacher of the Year. She and the other seven finalists for Virginia Teacher of the Year were honored at a reception held Sept. 18 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Governor Terry McAuliffe and other state officials were on hand to honor the eight finalists, pictured above. Ms. Gates is second from the right in the picture. Michelle Cottrell-Williams, fourth from the left, was named 2018 Virginia Teacher of the Year. She will be Virginia's nominee for the 2018 National Teacher of the Year. "These teachers expect and inspire high achievement from their students," said Dr. Steven R. Staples, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction. "The example they set is an inspiration to the teaching profession. We are pleased to recognize them as representatives of the great teaching in classrooms across the Commonwealth." More details…
Smyth County Schools held the required Public Hearing for input on the 2018-2019 Smyth County Schools budget on Jan. 8, 2018. Due to the possibility that inclement weather prevented some people from attending the Jan. 8 Public Hearing, the Smyth County School Board will have a meeting on Jan. 24 to provide additional opportunity for input on the budget. The meeting will begin at 5:00 pm at the Smyth County School Board office, 121 Bagley Circle, Suite 300, Marion, Va.