Youths in the news, May 13, 2014
State champions Champaign Next Generation won the Class A state championship at the IESA Scholastic Bowl in Peoria last weekend. It is the school's first title.
Next Generation finished the season 29-0, 18 of which were won by early-stoppage rule (when one team scores over 300 points). For the season, they outscored their opponents by an average score of 296-100.
The championship game against Normal Metcalf of Normal — at 21-0 the only other undefeated team at state — featured multiple lead changes. The Trailblazers took the lead for the last time with just a few questions left and hung on to win, 235-200. It was the first match in which either team actually trailed in the second half during a match all season.
Team members include:
— Eighth grade: Tony Cosimini, Sophie Quackenbush and Evan Spiros.
— Seventh grade: Tim Cho, Varun Kala, Michael-John Larenas-Leach, Robert Nagel, D.J. Nelson, Dylan Patel and Krishna Subbiah.
— Sixth grade: Luke Stancil.
Coaches are Ann Quackenbush and Brenda Searby.
The Sangamon Valley Conference announced the winners of its 2014 SVC Scholarships. Sarah Foreman of St. Joseph-Ogden won the academic scholarship. Winners of the male and female athlete scholarships were Austin Hasselbring of Watseka and Amanda Graf of Momence. Watseka's Morgan Hotaling won the fine arts scholarship, and the vocational scholarship was awarded to Angela Behrends of Iroquois West. Each scholarship is a one-time $500 award.
Haley Cummings of Danforth, who is a senior at Iroquois West High School, was one of 141 students selected as Presidential Scholars. Cummings is the daughter of William and Jill Cummings and will be attending Washington University in St. Louis with an intended major of architecture.
The announcement was made by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "The extraordinary young men and women being honored for the 50th anniversary of the Presidential Scholars have excelled in their educational, artistic and civic pursuits," he said. "They show all of us thatwhen students challenge themselves and commit themselves to excellence, the results can be astounding. These scholars will help move our country forward and will have a lasting impact on their families, communities, and on our society. They represent the potential of all young citizens to lift up America."
The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by President Obama, selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Of the 3 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 3,900 candidates qualified for the 2014 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.
Robotics club takes 4th
Ctrl-Z, a Champaign-Urbana robotics club made up of middle and high school students, finished fourth at the Midwest Regional FIRST Robotics Tournament in Chicago.
Ctrl-Z's robot competes in an event that involves grabbing a 2-foot diameter exercise ball, throwing it over a truss, catching it and scoring in a goal. Each match features a competition between two alliances of three robots each. Additional points are awarded for passing the ball among teammates. Club members designed, fabricated, assembled, programmed and optimized their robot. It weighs about 150 pounds and stands 5-feet tall.
Ctrl-Z is a team of 23 students in grades 8-12 from Champaign, Urbana, Savoy and surrounding communities. It is led by coach Michael Kasten, a research engineer at the University of Illinois. The team is mentored by graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Illinois, volunteers from Caterpillar Inc. in Champaign and parents. They receive direct support from Caterpillar and Parkland College.
4-H members compete
A dozen 4-H'ers competed in the annual Public Presentations Contest on May 3 at the Champaign County Extension Office. Participants had the opportunity to select, prepare and deliver their presentation. The judges for the day were a combination of students from University of Illinois Agriculture Education department and an instructor from the communications department.
The winners were: Amanda Norcross of Champaign for Formal Speech; Shelby Waltermire of Tolono for Illustrated Speech; Valerie Norcross of Champaign for Oral Presentation; Mahalia Booth-Hodges of Urbana for Formal Speech; Grace Taylor of Champaign for Illustrated Speech; Isabella Taylor of Champaign for Demonstration; and J.D. Norcross of Champaign for Top Extempore Presenter. Amanda Norcross, Shelby Waltermire and Valarie Norcross are state fair qualifiers.
Fisher grad honored
Mediacom Communications has presented Olivia Heffernan, a 2014 graduate of Fisher High School, with a $1,000 scholarship as part of the company's World Class Scholarship Program. The award recognizes the Fisher resident for outstanding leadership and academic accomplishments.