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Middle Schoolers Shine at NAPS Annual Meeting

A group of Northumberland Middle School students and Shauna McCranie, Coordinator of Gifted Services, showed their completed robots for the SeaPerch Project at the NAPS Annual Meeting, “STEM in Northumberland,” Saturday, February 6, at the United Methodist Church in Heathsville. Almost half of the 20 sixth to ninth grade students were on hand to tell the audience of NAPS members and non-members, including their parents and grandparents, what their favorite tasks were. (Soldering skill was a leader.)

Shauna told the crowd of about 50+ that the group was ready to test their underwater robots at the YMCA in-door pool in Kilmarnock. The next step in April will be competition at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, she said. Everyone had a chance to examine the robots during the intermission.

The SeaPerch Project was part of the overall theme of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). The keynote speaker, John Wright from the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Dahlgren, described how important STEM education is to the Navy. He outlined the programs that Dahlgren supports at elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools, emphasizing that grants are available, such as the SeaPerch Project at the Northumberland Middle School. Dahlgren provided all the materials and tools needed to construct the robots. NAPS supplied the hand bags to carry the tools.

Turning to the Northumberland students, he said, “I love to see the SeaPerch smiles that illuminate the faces of STEM students when they put their creations in the water.” He added that robots are heavily involved in Dahlgren’s R&D.

NAPS Vice President Lee Allain opened the program with an overview of STEM and why it is vital for the future of the country. He stated that an engineering career offers many benefits including significant income, job satisfaction in participating on important projects, and service to the country. Lee emphasized one of the STEM slides, “Aiming for the Good Life.”

Prior to starting the proceedings, Lee paid special honor to Kenny Eades, retired County Administrator, and his replacement Luttrell Tadlock. Lee thanked them both for attending and said that NAPS has appreciated their help and encouragement.

At the NAPS Business Meeting following the STEM program, Greg Haugan reviewed his financial report and gave a brief summary of preparations for the 2016 Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 16, at the Heathsville Farmers Market.

In addition, three new board members were elected: Shauna McCranie, Pam Hagy, and Janice Mahoney.

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