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Grayson Senior Named U.S. Presidential Scholar

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Yash ShirsathA Grayson High senior was recently recognized as the only public school student in Georgia to be selected as a U.S. Presidential Scholar.

Yash Shirsath is one of 141 students from across the country to receive the honor, which honors some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors.

Shirsath, Grayson’s salutatorian, will attend the University of Pennsylvania where he plans to major in computer engineering, management of entrepreneurship and innovation. Shirsath has also been awarded a National Merit Scholarship.

As part of receiving the award, Shirsath noted his most influential teacher as Mary Stimmel of Grayson High.

Of the three million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 4,300 candidates qualified for the 2015 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts competition.

The scholars will be honored for their accomplishments in Washington on June 21-23.

Six Gwinnett Students Chosen as National Merit Scholars

Monday, May 11th, 2015
2015-Merit-Scholars

From L-R: Ryan C. Chen of Brookwood, who listed academia as a probable career field, Laboni Hoque of Brookwood, who plans to enter the field of medicine, Dain Song of Lanier, who also seeks to pursue a career in medicine and Megan J. Paik and Ziyu Ding, each from North Gwinnett, who plan seek careers in science/research and neuroscience, respectively and Katherine E. Moraes (not pictured) of Collins Hill, who has a probable career field of neuroscience.

They plan to study medicine, neuroscience and enter the fields of academia, science and research. Thanks to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, they’ll do it with a $2,500 scholarship.

Six Gwinnett students were recently named National Merit Scholars that were judged by the organization to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in college.

The students are Ryan C. Chen of Brookwood, who listed academia as a probable career field, Laboni Hoque of Brookwood, who plans to enter the field of medicine, Katherine E. Moraes of Collins Hill, who has a probable career field of neuroscience, Dain Song of Lanier, who also seeks to pursue a career in medicine and Megan J. Paik and Ziyu Ding, each from North Gwinnett, who plan seek careers in science/research and neuroscience, respectively.

Laboni Hoque of Brookwood

The students were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors from a pool of more than 15,000 finalists. The committee reviewed each student’s academic record including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions/leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the student; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

The competition began when more than 1.4 million students, who at the time were high school juniors, took the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as the initial screening for program entrants. The highest scoring participants in each state were then selected as semifinalists.

http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2015/may/08/six-gwinnett-students-chosen-as-national-merit/

Brookwood Grad Amy Robach to Speak to 5,000 UGA Graduates

Thursday, May 7th, 2015
photo

Brookwood High graduate Amy Robach is scheduled to speak to more than 5,000 University of Georgia graduates in Athens on Saturday at the spring commencement ceremony. (Special Photo)

Brookwood High graduate Amy Robach is scheduled to speak to more than 5,000 University of Georgia graduates in Athens on Friday at the spring commencement ceremony.

Robach, the news anchor for ABC’s “Good Morning America,” will speak to about 4,488 undergraduates and 1,178 graduate students, along with 1,022 summer candidates invited to walk. The ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Sanford Stadium.

A 1995 alumna of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Robach originally joined the network as a correspondent based in New York, and has since traveled nationally and internationally to cover major news events.

Before living in the Snellville area, Robach lived in Lansing, Mich. and St. Louis. She graduated from UGA with honors and a degree in broadcast journalism.

An estimated 189 doctoral candidates and 990 master’s and specialist degree students will be eligible to walk in the graduate ceremony at 10 a.m. in Stegeman Coliseum. University Professor Emeritus Gary Bertsch, who is now chairman of the international advisory group TradeSecure LLC, will address the graduates and guests.

During the undergraduate ceremony, 15 students will be recognized as First Honor Graduates for maintaining a 4.0 cumulative grade point average in all work attempted at UGA as well as all college-level transfer work attempted prior to or following enrollment at the university.

Student Commencement speaker Hayes Patrick, of Baton Rouge, La., is graduating with bachelors’ degrees in biology and psychology, with a focus on pre-medicine, from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. His accomplishments include serving as executive director of UGA HEROs; participating in the UGA Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, Kappa Alpha Order and a Maymester abroad in Cortona, Italy; being named to Phi Beta Kappa and the Blue Key Honor Society; and interning at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Because the ceremonies fall on a Friday, a routine UGA workday, parking patterns on south campus near the coliseum will be adjusted. The south campus parking deck (zone S-11) and Carlton Street parking deck (zone S-15) will be open at no charge for visitors and guests. The Hoke Smith lot (S-12) will be reserved for handicapped guests with proper handicapped placards. The McPhaul Center lot (S-10) will be reserved for members of the commencement platform party.

Both ceremonies will be streamed live at http://www.ctl.uga.edu/ctlcable and broadcast live on Channel 15 of the University Cable System and Channel 181 of the Charter Cable System. No backpacks, bags larger than 12 inches by 12 inches by 12 inches or unopened packages will be allowed at either venue.

General seating tickets are not required for either event.

Motorists are asked to use caution when driving on Broad Street near the Arch as graduating students gather to take photographs. The university also will have a temporary platform in place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday to allow students with disabilities to pass through.

http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2015/may/06/brookwood-grad-amy-robach-to-speak-to-5000-uga/

GCPS Mentoring Program for Black Youths Celebrates Success

Thursday, May 7th, 2015
South Gwinnett student Sadrac Desert speaks to a crowd on Wednesday night at the end-of-the-year celebration dinner for the Community-Based Mentoring Program at the Gwinnett County Public Schools district cafeteria in Suwanee. (Gwinnett Daily Post Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

South Gwinnett student Sadrac Desert speaks to a crowd on Wednesday night at the end-of-the-year celebration dinner for the Community-Based Mentoring Program at the Gwinnett County Public Schools district cafeteria in Suwanee. (Gwinnett Daily Post Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

SUWANEE — They saluted the mentees who they vow will not be a statistic, who will not show up on the nightly news, and who could one day be a school principal.

The statistics splashed on a screen during a banquet Wednesday night at an end-of-the-year celebration of the Community-Based Mentoring Program were positive, and trumpeted academic success.

Thirty-six percent were involved in zero incidents and another 24 percent were involved in one to three incidents last school year. The program, which serves African-American boys, reported that 77 percent of the students involved in the program passed all four core academic subjects.

The program is designed to build relationships that help make responsible decisions and curb risky behaviors like skipping school or using drugs.

James Rayford, director of the department of academic support at Gwinnett County Public Schools, said the program, in its seventh year, which started with 37 students and 53 mentors, now counts 425 students and 170 mentors. Figures from last year said 28 percent of students in the program had perfect attendance, and 44 percent had less than three absences.

The message is clear, Rayford said.

“Hey, you can be successful in school despite of what you’re going through,” he said.

The program also announced two $500 college scholarships, including the first recipient, Dumbi Ogwu of Berkmar, who has a 3.2 grade-point-average and has been accepted to Georgia State University. The other recipient has not been announced yet.

Another proud student, Sadrac Desert of South Gwinnett High, said he was unsure of the program when he first heard about it — other than free food and field trips. But things changed when he gave Rayford a firm handshake, and later when he earned the best grades of his life as a high school sophomore.

He also praised his mentor, Darren Providence.

“When I had no father to lean to, or even when I was driving my mom crazy, or when my grades were terrible, he was someone I could turn to,” Desert said.

As for the program, Desert said it made a difference in his life and, “It changed me to be a better man for my momma and for myself.”

The dinner, which filled the cafeteria inside the district office with families, administrators and district leaders, included comments from CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks and Bishop William L. Sheals, Pastor of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Norcross.

Sheals said that the mentors selected the mentees because they sensed that their mentees had potential, and therefore has a reason to give them hope.

“Young men, mentees,” Sheals said, “you must receive this hope that has been poured into you by your mentors and be grateful for it, but do something with it, which means you must have drive.”

http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2015/may/06/gcps-mentoring-program-for-black-youths/

Broad Foundation Awards 26 Scholarships to Gwinnett Seniors

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Eight months after Gwinnett County Public Schools was awarded another Broad Prize, 26 seniors were announced on Tuesday as recipients of scholarships from the prestigious national education prize.

Meadowcreek High led the way with four recipients as 16 schools were represented, while South Gwinnett, Grayson, Parkview, the Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology and Peachtree Ridge each had two recipients. GCPS shared the Broad Prize in September with Orange County Schools in Orlando, Fla., which counted 29 students as scholarship recipients.

Broad Prize scholars receive two- or four-year scholarships depending on the type of institution they choose to attend. Scholarship recipients who enroll in four-year institutions receive $20,000 paid out over four years ($5,000 per year). Students who enroll in two-year institutions receive $5,000 scholarships paid out over two years ($2,500 per year). The scholarship selection and disbursement process is managed by Scholarship America.

Broad Prize scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors who, like their school districts, demonstrate improvement throughout high school, especially for low-income students and minorities.

The Broad Foundation announced earlier this year that it was pausing The Broad Prize because of the slow pace of school improvement and the changing landscape of K-12 public education. The foundation will continue to administer The Broad Prize scholarship program while the prize is paused.

In September, GCPS was named a co-winner of the prize, the second time since 2010 that GCPS won the award, and it was also named a finalist in 2009. In that period, Gwinnett students have received $1.75 million in scholarships.

Previously, 75 of the largest public school districts in the country were automatically eligible for The Broad Prize each year. A review board of education experts reviewed performance data and selected the finalists. Since 2002, there have always been four or five finalists, but last year, the review board, made up of prominent leaders and former U.S. secretaries of education, elected to have Gwinnett and Orange County share the prize.

The recipients join more than 1,200 Broad Prize scholars nationwide who have received $16 million in college scholarships since the first Broad Prize was awarded in 2002. Founded by entrepreneur Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, both graduates of Detroit Public Schools.

“We are immensely proud of these students who have overcome the odds to attend college, and we celebrate their academic success by awarding these scholarships,” Bruce Reed, president of The Broad Foundation, a national education philanthropy based in Los Angeles said in press release. “Their academic achievements are a testament to their hard work and the commitment and dedication of their parents, teachers and administrators who believed in their potential. We look forward to great accomplishments from these scholars in college and beyond.”

The 55 students will receive $1 million in college scholarships — each district recieved $500,000 — as their school districts were the first co-winners of the award in its history. They were recognized last year for being the most improved urban school districts in the country.

Broad scholarship recipients from Gwinnett:

  • Sarah Dejene South Gwinnett
  • Elisa Diaz Meadowcreek
  • Jacque Evangelister Dacula
  • Lilah Evans Grayson
  • Brian Galeano Central Gwinnett
  • Makai Greaux Parkview
  • Abigail Harrison Gwinnett Online Campus
  • Anthony Jimmerson Meadowcreek
  • Simran Khoja Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology
  • Leslie Kumi Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology
  • Tiffany Leon Mountain View
  • Jack Mason Collins Hill
  • Jolee Mcmanus Brookwood
  • Michael Moise Grayson
  • Krina Patel Meadowcreek
  • Kyle Rouleau Peachtree Ridge
  • Alem Sahic Central Gwinnett
  • Nikolina Sandrk Berkmar
  • Ahadu Solomon Parkview
  • Krystal Stennett South Gwinnett
  • Huiying Su Peachtree Ridge
  • Brianna Valentine Duluth
  • Darisbell Valeriano Meadowcreek
  • Francisco Velazquez Shiloh
  • Aliyah Winfrey Archer
  • Paul Yang Peachtree Ridge

http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2015/may/05/broad-foundation-awards-26-scholarships-to/

2015 Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame

Monday, May 4th, 2015
Former Shiloh football standout and 2015 Hall of Fame inductee David Pollack speaks to the crowd after receiving his jacket and ring during the 6th Annual Gwinnett Sports Hall of Fame Banquet at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth on Friday. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

Former Shiloh football standout and 2015 Hall of Fame inductee David Pollack speaks to the crowd after receiving his jacket and ring during the 6th Annual Gwinnett Sports Hall of Fame Banquet at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth on Friday. (Gwinnett County Post Staff Photo: David Welker)

DULUTH — Immediately after a video presentation by Georgia head football coach Mark Richt, Ed Shaddix got his turn to introduce former University of Georgia All-American and ESPN analyst Davey Pollack at Friday night’s Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame induction.

Shaddix used the moment to tell some Pollack stories from the past — the current Gwinnett County Public Schools assistant superintendent coached Pollack in football at Shiloh — and also be a proud alum of Shiloh, noting that the first two Generals, Pollack and Dustin Kawa, were being inducted.

“It’s a good night to be from Shiloh High School,” said Shaddix, a Shiloh grad himself.

It was a good night for Gwinnett as a whole and for the GCPS Foundation, the beneficiary of the Hall of Fame banquet, held for the sixth year.

The evening, featuring keynote speaker and University of Georgia coaching legend Vince Dooley, celebrated seven new hall of famers, with Pollack and Kawa, a standout wrestler, being joined by Brookwood grad and Olympic swimmer Amanda Weir, longtime Central Gwinnett football coach and athletic director Tally Johnson, Buford grad and former WNBA player Christi Thomas, Norcross grad and Tennessee track and field All-American Stephen Harris and the late William “Bull” Cooper, a multi-sport start in the 1930s at UGA and in the pros.

“It’s such an honor to be inducted with such a talented group of athletes and coaches,” Weir said. “How cool is it that we represent so many different sports. There’s a tradition of excellence across the board (in Gwinnett). … I couldn’t think of a better place to foster my athletic career.”

The Gwinnett Center ballroom was the venue for the inductions, including emotional acceptance speeches by Harris and Thomas, who cried throughout her acceptance speech after being introduced by her father Maurice.

“It’s a great honor, a privilege (to be inducted),” Thomas said. “My family will remember this for years to come.”

Harris fought back tears while talking about his mother Lois, who passed away from cancer in January.

“Mom loved three things,” said Harris, who was the NCAA decathlon champion at Tennessee. “She loved the Lord first. She loved her family second. And she loved everything Norcross third. She never missed a show, a moment for any of her kids. … I believe that she is here. Thank you mom for loving me and being my biggest fan. This award is for you. It’s part of your legacy.”

A common theme from all the hall of famers was appreciation, an admiration for those who supported them throughout their careers.

“The bottom line is none of us got to this banquet without the love and support of others,” Pollack said.

One of those supporters for Pollack was his selection to introduce him.

Shaddix told a story from his teaching days at Shiloh, when a young Pollack repeatedly caused problems in his history class.

“If you knew him back then, he was more than a handful,” Shaddix said. “He was always doing something. Not anything bad, but the words irritating and annoying come to mind. … I told him, ‘You better turn around, nobody’s ever going to play you money to hear you talk.’ So I owe you an apology, obviously ESPN pays you well to talk.”

“Coach was right, I was a pain in the booty (back then),” Pollack said.

Pollack, the night’s last inductee, stayed mostly serious in his acceptance speech when thanking those in his life. He recalled a story involving Shaddix, who talked Pollack out of quitting football after his sophomore season at Shiloh.

The future three-time UGA All-American and NFL first-round draft pick was frustrated with his playing time while splitting time between the Shiloh junior varsity and varsity teams.

“I was like, ‘Dude, I quit,’” Pollack said. “He said, ‘Let’s work harder, work out at 5 a.m. and see where that takes us.’ How many people know Ed Shaddix? That’s a name that made a difference in my life.”

Friday’s celebration upped the number of Gwinnett hall of famers to 35, which will grow at next year’s banquet, already scheduled for May 6, 2016.

Eight GCPS students receive National Merit scholarships

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Eight Gwinnett County high school seniors, including two each from Duluth High and the Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology, have been awarded National Merit Scholarships.

The students come from six high schools, and are among the first group of winners in the 60th annual program where more than 1,000 students are selected. The scholarships are financed by about 200 corporations, company foundations, and other business organizations.

Scholars were selected from among 15,000 students who advanced to the finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for finalists who are children of their employees, residents of communities the company serves, or students who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wishes to encourage.

The competition began when more than 1.4 million high school juniors from 22,000 high schools took the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as the initial screening for program entrants. The highest-scoring participants in each state were then selected as semifinalists.

From the semifinalist group, 15,000 met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 7,600 will be named scholarship winners, with additional winners named throughout the spring and into summer.

National Merit Scholars from Gwinnett:

From Brookwood High School:

Kwadwo Korang Obeng-Marnu
Probable career field: Physics
Honorary Merit Scholarship

An honorary merit scholarship award signifies that the scholar’s educational plans or other awards preclude receipt of a monetary scholarship. The student’s name is included in the public announcement in recognition of distinguished performance in the competition.

From Duluth High School:

Vikram S. Varadarajan
Probable career field: Medicine
National Merit Norfolk Southern Scholarship

Norfolk Southern has an educational aid program which furthers educational opportunities by supporting higher learning. In addition to these scholarships which are supported by Norfolk Southern Foundation, Norfolk Southern has an employee tuition assistance program and a matching gifts program.

Michael Xu
Probable career field: Materials Engineering
National Merit Cardinal Health Foundation Scholarship

The Cardinal Health Foundation annually supports Merit Scholarship awards for the sons and daughters of Cardinal Health employees to recognize their academic excellence and assist in their pursuit of higher education.

From Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology:

Mitesh D. Bhalani
Probable career field: Bioengineering
National Merit James E. Casey Scholarship

National Merit James E. Casey Scholarships and James E. Casey Scholarships for children of United Parcel Service employees are supported by the UPS Foundation, in honor of the founder of United Parcel Service.

Artur D. Tarasenko
Probable career field: Computer Science
National Merit Automatic Data Processing, Inc. Henry Taub Memorial Scholarship

Merit Scholarship awards are funded by the ADP Foundation for the children of ADP employees.

From Norcross High School:

Matthew Gary Chen
Probable career field: Finance
National Merit Southern Company Scholarship

The Atlanta-based Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications.

From North Gwinnett High School:

Hasib Muhammad
Probable career field: Statistics
National Merit Norfolk Southern Scholarship

Norfolk Southern has an educational aid program which furthers educational opportunities by supporting higher learning. In addition to these scholarships which are supported by Norfolk Southern Foundation, Norfolk Southern has an employee tuition assistance program and a matching gifts program.

From Peachtree Ridge High School:

Blake T. Best
Probable career field: Economics
National Merit Georgia-Pacific Foundation Scholarship

The Georgia-Pacific Foundation supports Merit Scholarship awards for sons and daughters of employees of Georgia-Pacific Corporation and its subsidiary companies.

http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2015/apr/22/eight-gcps-students-receive-national-merit/

GSMST Again Tops Georgia Schools in National Rankings

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology

The Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology should make room for more hardware.

The Lawrenceville charter school remained on top of a ranking by The Washington Post’s list of “most challenging” high schools across the country. GSMST was named the top school in Georgia on the list, 19th in the South and 26th in the country out of 2,300 schools.

Last year, GSMST was ranked No. 1 in Georgia and No. 17 in the country.

The list, compiled by staff writer Jay Mathews, is measured by a “challenge index” that considers the number of students who enroll in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education courses.

Schools qualify only if they give at least as many AP, IB or AICE exams in a year as they have graduating seniors. They are then ranked by their tests-to-graduates ratio. The index also includes a sampling of private schools. While the ranking considers the number of AP, IB and AICE tests given, it doesn’t weigh how well the students do.

The index score is the number of college-level tests given at a school in the previous calendar year divided by the number of graduates that year. Also noted are the percentage of students who come from families that qualify for lunch subsidies and the percentage of graduates who passed at least one college-level test during their high school career, which is a category called equity and excellence.

Thirty-five percent of GSMST students receive lunch subsidies.

GSMST Principal IV Bray said that as an accelerated school, AP courses are a critical component of the curriculum at GSMST, so school officials expect to do well in a ranking like this as it mirrors what the school focuses on: “giving students an opportunity to ‘go deep’ in a number of STEM areas.”

“I am pleased that the hard work and dedication of our faculty, our students, and our school community can be acknowledged by external evaluators,” Bray said in an email to the Daily Post.

Bray said the school didn’t have any celebrations planned, but students and teachers are pulling hard for the math team to repeat as state champions on Saturday in Macon.

The only other Georgia school in the top 100 nationwide is St. Andrew’s, a private school in Savannah, which ranked 97th. Meadowcreek High was listed fifth in Georgia and ranked 140th nationally. Eighty-six percent of Meadowcreek students receive lunch subsidies.

In an analysis of the ranks, Mathews wrote, “Very few campuses have adopted the heavy load of college-level courses in ninth and 10th grades that characterize the top 30 schools.”

Mathews also wrote that survey results he compiled to develop the list revealed that many schools still keep average students out of their best courses even though research shows they do better in college when given that opportunity.

Thirty-four percent of the 1,403 high schools that responded to the question said they had traditional rules barring enrollment in AP, IB or AICE if a student lacked the necessary grade-point average, teacher’s recommendation or good grade in a previous course. This suggests that many U.S. schools still have such rules, since Mathews surveyed only the top 11 percent of schools as measured by participation in AP, IB and AICE.

“One reason why 89 percent of U.S. public schools don’t make The Post’s list is that rules limiting access are still widespread,” Mathews wrote.

http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2015/apr/21/gsmst-again-tops-georgia-schools-in-national/

GCPS, Quality-Plus Leadership Academy and Aspiring Principal Program

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Business MeetingAs the state’s largest school system, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) values leaders who have the skills and training to lead world-class schools to increased levels of academic achievement for all students. Because of the changing demographics in our schools, school leaders must be knowledgeable about instruction, should articulate the school’s vision and mission, and promote a positive school environment in an era of accountability. Quality-Plus Leaders model high expectations for teachers and students, and execute a vision so that these expectations may be realized.

The Quality-Plus Leader Academy (QPLA) is a locally created initiative that serves as an umbrella to cover all activities associated with training and development of leaders in GCPS.

http://gettingsmart.com/2015/04/5-exemplary-leadership-programs/

Gwinnett Students Named State Champs in Georgia’s Odyssey of the Mind State Finals

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
Odyssey-of-the-Mind-Winners

(Top row L-R) Mill Creek High ninth-graders Emma Beguhn and Bailey Martinez, GSMST ninth-grader Benjamin Breer and (Bottom row L-R) 10th grader Kyle Patel, along with Osborne Middle eighth-graders Joshua Bingham and Danielle Williams

Several Gwinnett students recently were named state champions in Georgia’s Odyssey of the Mind state finals. Mill Creek High ninth-graders Emma Beguhn and Bailey Martinez, GSMST ninth-grader Benjamin Breer and 10th grader Kyle Patel, along with Osborne Middle eighth-graders Joshua Bingham and Danielle Williams all were crowned.

The students will now compete against teams from around the country and up to 26 countries around the world at Michigan State University in May.

They competed for Geekspace Gwinnett, “a nonprofit, member operated makerspace.”

Their problem to solve was a “Runaway Train,” where they designed, built and operated multiple vehicles that traveled on complex tracks, making stops at different stations without touching the floor. While traveling between stations, the vehicles overcame obstacles. The theme of the required performance explained the vehicle’s difficulties encountered on the track. The team’s solution included several engineered vehicles and tracks and involved multiple skills (3-D Printing, Welding, Electronics/Soldering, CNC and AutoCAD). One of their props included more than 2,500 cut coffee stirs to form a “Mozart” portrait.

http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2015/apr/04/good-news-from-schools-gsmst-student-wins-top/