Robotics Squads Deliver Strong Performances, State Qualifier in Home Tournament.

img_0002-2.jpgBy Tommy Smeltzer

Chaminade’s Eagle Engineering robotics team has qualified a squad to compete in the California State Championship for the sixth consecutive year as team 1138A took home the top award at their home tournament, The Chaminade Showdown. At the same tournament, Team 83A, the Vex Robotics team from Chaminade middle school won the Judges Award.

As in previous years, Eagle Engineering splits off into three distinct teams for the Vex Robotics competition. While all of the students collaborate and support each other leading up to game time, they compete as separate teams in tournaments. During qualifying rounds, matches are played between alliances of randomly paired teams vying for the highest ranking, while judges interview students and study their machines for a variety of awards. Based on the results of nine matches for each team, top-ranked teams then pick their alliance partners for the elimination rounds.

This is the fourth year for Chaminade hosting a tournament on their West Hills campus. Overnight, volunteers turned the Bob Hope Center into a sports arena featuring competition fields and bleachers, pits for teams to work on their machines and a full livestream broadcast setup. All four of Chaminade’s Vex squads competed, along with 28 other area teams.

The teams rebounded from a rough start to the season as tournaments in Bakersfield and Calabasas presented a slew of technical and strategic challenges. Needing a fresh perspective in the two weeks off, team 1138B founding member Anthony Gruppuso ’13 was brought in to inspire the teams to re-think their approach. Gruppuso’s unique leadership style and a keen eye for strategy sent a bolt of energy through the high school squads, and the results were impressive. All three played to their strengths with greater urgency, with the senior-most squad, 1138A leading the rankings most of the day only to be toppled (literally) by the all-girl 1138G in a late round. Both 1138G and 1138A finished in the top eight (4th and 8th respectively), guaranteeing them a spot in the elimination rounds.

Both Eagle teams were knocked out in the quarterfinals. However, the judges chose 1138-A as the winner of the Excellence Award, given to the team with the best performance consistently across all categories. That guaranteed them a berth at the State Championship where they will compete next March for a chance to move on to the World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky in April.

With the season now in full swing, Eagle Engineers have no time to let up. Both the 1138B and 138G teams, as well as the 83A team from the middle school, are more driven than ever to qualify to compete alongside 1138A at the State Championship. All of the teams are determined to improve and refine their machines as they go into their remaining three events of 2018 in Reseda, Granada Hills, and El Camino College.

Eagle Engineering is a student-centered competitive robotics program with a focus on a professional team approach to design, engineering, programming and business challenges. For more information on Chaminade Robotics and how you can support the team, please contact Head Coach Tommy Smeltzer: tsmeltzer@chaminade.org.

Author Alan Gratz Visits Middle School

 

Award-winning author, Alan Gratz, visited Chaminade on October 29 and 30 to speak with middle school students. Gratz is the author of 15 books for young readers including The Brooklyn Nine, Code of Honor, Refuge, and most recently Grenade which debut third on the New York Times bestseller list. During his two-day visit, Gratz shared with students his experiences of being a professional writer, where he gets his ideas, his writing process, character development and how he conducts his research. Gratz also led grade-level workshops and was available for book signings.

Center for Excellence Registration is Open

Registration for Chaminade College Preparatory’s Center for Excellence (CCE) is now open. It is the perfect place for students to spend their summer learning and growing. With classes in the morning and afternoon, CCE offers programs, for students entering grades 1-12, designed to inspire, engage, and empower young minds.

Students entering grades 1 through 12 will enjoy expanding their horizons through the Center for Excellence summer programming. For students entering Chaminade’s 6th grade, Eagles Take Flight will prepare them academically and introduce them to Chaminade’s middle school community; while students entering high school grades can acquire valuable skills in High School Study and Success Skills, and students entering 12th grade can prepare for college applications in the College Application Bootcamp. CCE also offers robotics programs on both campuses with a brand-new class on the West Hills campus focusing on electronics and programming.

This year, CCEs summer Ste[+a]m Academy, for grades K-5, will once again be powered by STEMscopes. With a different curriculum each week, there is no repetition. Each STEMscope module engages students in cross-disciplinary activities that build knowledge and skills in areas including computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. Students can come for one week, or all five weeks.

The Great Books Academy, for grades K-5, is one of CCEs most popular programs aimed at educating the whole child. The Great Books curriculum is the cornerstone of the academy and is specially designed to help students become independent readers and thinkers by focusing on reading comprehension, critical thinking, vocabulary, and writing.

Summer is also an excellent time for students of all ages to pursue their creative passions in visual and performing arts. And children ages 5 to 15 can join CCEs Sports Camps and explore athletics from football to basketball as well as soccer, baseball, volleyball, fencing, and more. The West Hills campus also hosts Varsity Camps, which gives students the chance to work with Chaminade’s varsity head coaches, players, and former athletes with college and professional experience.

For more information visit chaminade.org/centerforexcellence or click here to register today.

Eagle Engineers Debut International Robotics Honor Society at World Championship

Chaminade’s Eagle Engineering robotics teams are completing their season at the Vex Robotics World Championship with historic implications. While the STEM Hall of Fame middle school team 83 earned their way to VEX Worlds as a finalist in the Southern California State Championship, the high school’s team 1138 traveled to Louisville with a secret.

Earlier in the year, former Chaminade teacher and Eagle Engineering founder Nancy McIntyre invited her old team to pilot a new program for the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation (RECF). The top-secret project was created to help develop a way to recognize the dedication and excellence that robotics students commit to their sport.  The International Robotics Honor Society (IRHS), will be rolled out to all American teams next year and will go worldwide in the 2019-2020 school year. Based on the format of the National Honor Society, IRHS celebrates students who excel in a combination of academic excellence, service and leadership, and a high commitment to their school’s robotics program.

Since late Fall, Robotics Program Director Tommy Smeltzer worked with McIntyre, Principal, Bro. Tom Fahy and team parents Talin Mansourian and Laura Gideon to charter a chapter at Chaminade and devise local guidelines for admission. After a comprehensive application period, some of the new inductees traveled to Kentucky to take part in a surprise announcement on Friday morning’s opening ceremonies. Twelve Chaminade students joined students from a local Louisville school to be the first to be inducted on the main stage in the Kentucky Exposition Center’s 18,000-seat Freedom Hall. Brother Tom Fahy was on hand to witness the event and share in the excitement as both Chaminade teams competed among the 1600 teams from over 40 countries.

Chaminade is honored to be among those leading the way in the development of this monumental program that will encourage STEM programs and recognize the dedicated students destined to become the next generation of engineers, programmers, innovators, and entrepreneurs.

For more information on Eagle Engineering, contact tsmeltzer@chaminade.org.

Studio Art Students Participate in Robert Graham Memorial Art Exhibition

By Charlene Hattier

Six Chaminade College Preparatory studio art students have work on display at the Our Lady of the Angels’ Robert Graham Memorial art exhibition. The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, located in downtown Los Angeles, is a patron of the arts and continues to celebrate the art of growing young artists from 17 Catholic schools each spring. The theme of the exhibition is “Spirituality” and selected students were tasked with creating an art piece inspired by their own spirituality. Participating students, their teachers, and guardians were honored at the opening reception during Sunday Mass on January 21, 2018. Their works were blessed by the priest, and exhibited to hundreds of visitors attending mass and the exhibition. Anyone can still visit the Cathedral and see this remarkable exhibition in person until April 8, 2018.

The participating Chaminade students are Bianca Ryans ’18, Brittany Pakfar ’18, Isabella Boghossian ’20, Caitlin Lynch ’19 and Alexandra Nelson ’18.

Bianca Ryans
Savior
Acrylic on Canvas

I rely on my faith in every aspect of my life. When asked how to define my spirituality, all I could think of is how lucky and blessed I am to have a relationship with God to carry me through the tough times in life. I am strong in my spirituality, and it supports me at all times. I strongly believe that God will always provide. I decided to paint an image of my savior; in a way I am honoring and thanking Him for being an important part of my life.

 

Brittany Pakfar
Being Human
Acrylic and Ink

“Being Human” expresses my deep curiosity for the fate of humans in retrospect of an ironic truth; innovation can lead to the loss of humanity. This piece is a representation of my personal struggle to balance human nature, such as faith, with the addiction of technology, as contrasted by the bleeding hand and the shiny, android arm. Through this relevant and thought-provoking topic, “Being Human” serves as a cautionary piece; never sacrifice humanity for gadgets as real satisfaction is achieved in the arms of those we love.

 

Isabella Boghossian
A Light in the Darkness
Acrylic on Canvas

I believe that through times of darkness and pain, trusting in God and helping others will shine through the suffering. Love will always triumph hate. The hardest part we must overcome is gaining the courage to spread the love. The halo represents God being my inspiration to become a light in darkness and leading a path for others who have lost their way. The bible verse, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” (John 1:5) expresses my belief, that being a light in darkness will light the way for others.

 

Caitlin Lynch
Untitled
Acrylic on Canvas

This piece is illustrating my own self, placed within the chaos of the world. I am surrounded by other people’s religions and beliefs. The boat that I presented in the broken light bulb illustrates me peeking through to the open world. My calm thoughts on the flat water in the light bulb pour out into a wild ocean. The chaotic ocean illustrates my thoughts combining with the chaos of the world. My piece is also illustrating how people view my character. People see me as shy initially, but once someone gets to know me more, my true personality is exemplified with depth, like the ocean.

 

Allie Nelson
The Hands of Life
Acrylic on Canvas

My piece exhibits the cycle of life and how sturdy it may be. There is a balance in between the ways of the world, life and death. The hands represent the foundation and wonder, holding up the elements of life. The flower petals are a symbol for earth, the living, breathing structure that homes us all. In interpretation, my piece could be seen as rebirth or life after death in general. This is an open piece to all beliefs and religions, since we all believe in the peace of life.