Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teams recently competed in the 2022 Maryland State Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Virtual Showcase on Saturday, May 7, hosted by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

Teams from J.P. Ryon, Walter J. Mitchell, and William A. Diggs elementary schools; Matthew Henson and Piccowaxen middle schools; and La Plata and North Point high schools participated in the event, with J.P. Ryon winning first place in the Mobile App Design Challenge.

Ryon’s school coordinators, Keena Skinner and Bianca Valdez agreed that seeing the students’ growth in the MESA program development is a rewarding aspect of their roles. “The most rewarding part about being a MESA coordinator is watching scholars’ confidence grow and their ability to persevere when things get tough,” Skinner said. “You also get to see leaders starting to present themselves throughout the process.”

The J.P. Ryon Elementary School MESA team wins first-place at the 2022 Maryland State Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Virtual Showcase on Saturday, May 7 hosted by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Credit: Charles County Public Schools

Valdez agreed with Skinner. “The best part of being a MESA coach is seeing their hard work finally come together. They are so excited when they develop a project that works and that they are proud of,” she said. “When students join the elementary MESA program, it is often their first major experience solving intense STEM challenges. They are faced with the design engineering process of constantly having to redesign and retest.”

Valdez said that seeing the joy and excitement from the students after they have developed a successful project contributes to her returning each year as a coordinator. “Seeing the amazing things they create keeps me going back to MESA year after year,” Valdez said.

The following teams placed at the state competition at the elementary-school level.

J.P. Ryon Elementary School

Mobile App Design Challenge, first place

  • Kevin Mejia Trochez, a fifth-grade student.
    • Micah Brown, a fourth-grade student.
    • Mateo Bradford, a fourth-grade student.
    • Madison Walton-Johnson, a fourth-grade student.

School coordinators are Bianca Watson and Keena Skinner, fifth-grade teachers at Ryon.

William A. Diggs Elementary School

Wearable Technology Challenge, second place

  • Traci Davis, school coordinator.
    • Michael Johnson, school coordinator.
    • Jennifer Everett, school coordinator.
    • Zeina Amin, a fifth-grade student.
    • Imani Moultrie, a fourth-grade student.
    • Jaiden Smith, a fifth-grade student.

School coordinators are Traci Davis, kindergarten teacher at Diggs, Michael Johnson, science teacher at Diggs and Jennifer Everett, preschool instructional assistant at Diggs.

Expanding Structure, second place

  • Zendaya Harris, fourth-grade student.
    • Reev Gaudren, fifth-grade student.
    • Gilbert Dean, fourth-grade student.
    • David Okoli, fifth-grade student.

School coordinators are Davis, Johnson and Everett.

Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School

Storybook Theme Park Ride, second place

  • Clarissa Roper, school coordinator.
    • Mollie Whathen, school coordinator.
    • Jace Williams, a fifth-grade student.
    • Dylan Thompson, a fifth-grade student.
    • Kylie Dietrich, a fourth-grade student.
    • Teagan Rooney, a fourth-grade student.

School coordinators are Clarissa Roper, art teacher at Mitchell, and Mollie Wathen, a second-grade teacher at Mitchell.

The following team was placed on the middle-school level. Piccowaxen Middle School

Wearable Technology, third place

  • Bianka Magana, a sixth-grade student.
    • Addison Mudd, an eighth-grade student.
    • Kinsey Mudd, an eighth-grade student.
    • Rowan Leonard, a sixth-grade student.

School coordinators are Sherri Gibney and Victoria Farrell, science teachers at Piccowaxen.


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