Middle School Gifted Competitions
Mrs. Klinsky, Gifted Education Instructor (Middle and Elementary)
The Gifted Program begins each school year with a planning phase. Competitions typically beginning in October and last throughout the school year. The competitions fall into these categories:
Rube Goldberg Competition
On Monday, May 21, the gifted students competed in the Rube Goldberg Competition at Huston School District. They were to construct a whimsical contraption of sequential movements that led to moving a tennis ball up a 30 cm ramp.
Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist, sculptor, engineer, and inventor. Goldberg is best known for a series of popular cartoons illustrating complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect ways, giving rise to the term Rube Goldberg machines for any similar gadget or process.
BVA took 2nd place overall and was only one-point shy of 1st place. The team’s theme was the Egyptian Underworld. Monster drawings were drawn by Chloe Ott.
Belle Vernon Area Middle School students competed at the ThinkFest Competition on Monday, May 7. The competition was held at Greater Latrobe’s Center for Creativity.
The students competed in several different challenges that ranged from silly vocabulary to designing paper airplanes to building architectural projects.
Team 1 consisted of Rostraver students: Alex Nash, Dylan Holliday, Maria Spedaliere, and Jack Moffatt. Team 2 consisted of BVAMS students: Ethan Luker, Stephanie Woosley, Stevie Anderson, and Sarah Ruschak.
Stevie Anderson placed 1st individually, Stephanie Woosley placed 4th place individually and the entire BVA Team 2 placed 3rd overall.
On BVA Team 1, Jack Moffatt placed 3rd individually.
Scratch Coding Competition
On February 6, three students were accompanied to Huston Middle School in Burrell School District by Mrs. Klinsky and Miss Crawford for a Scratch Coding Competition. A team of two students created a story using Scratch images and another student had an independent project.
The team of Ethan Lucas and Michael Shaffer were awarded First Place for the story about a cow bell being bullied by other instruments!
Four Belle Vernon gifted students went to Franklin Regional Middle School to participate in a robotics competition on January 10. The challenge was to shoot ping-pong balls into a “basket.” Dylan Holliday and Jake Pfarr represented Rostraver Elementary School (sixth grade). Nick Reda and Michael Shaffer represented Belle Vernon Area Middle School (seventh grade).
Great job to all participants!
On December 18, two BVAMS students participated in the Middle School Gifted Sculpture Competition at Trafford Middle School. The theme for this year’s competition was “Snowmen from Around the World.”
Chloe Ott prepared an Egyptian sculpture depicting Ra, the Egyptian Sun God, winning her second place. Sage Kostelac prepared a sculpture representing the Spanish holiday, Dia de los Muertos.
While the sculptures were being judged, the students painted pictures of a snowman.
The Great Debate
Eight middle school students participated in The Great Debate on November 29. The students, in teams of 2, debated various current topics against other schools in Westmoreland County. Participating in the debate were Gabby Lauzon and Stephanie Woosley, Sarah Ruschak and Ethan Luker, Nick Reda and Michael Schaffer, and Delaney Patterson and Jake Wessel. The teams of students received a topic, brainstormed and researched the topic, and debated the topic following the rules of debate.
Three of the four BVAMS teams won their debate. Nice job to all the participants!
Mrs. Klinsky escorted several gifted students to participate in a Mock Trial Competition at Penn Trafford High School on October 26. The students participated in a simulated trial proceeding to understand and apply trial rules and processes. The students spent many hours preparing for their case.
The students tried the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs. Kennedy Clark. Belle Vernon students were the defense team. During Round One, the team of lawyers Stephanie Woosley, Ethan Luker and Delaney Patterson and witnesses Morgan Einodshofer, Gabby Lauzon and Sarah Ruschak won the case, proving that Kennedy Clark was not guilty.
Strategically Thinking K'Nex Challenge
Six middle school gifted students recently participated in the Strategically Thinking K’Nex Bridge Challenge at Mt. Pleasant Middle School. The challenges included building the longest, self-supporting K’Nex structure and building a bridge to span 24” which would support the weight of a “monster” truck.
Participating were Stevie Anderson, Morgan Einodshofer, Dylan Holliday, Gabby Lauzon, Ethan Luker, and Jake Pfarr.
BVAMS Hosts Gifted Chess Tournament
Belle Vernon Area Middle School hosted the Westmoreland County Gifted Coalition chess tournament on December 20. Nine BVAMS students played in the tournament, and three students were tournament helpers.
BVAMS students competed against students from Penn Middle School and Burrell Middle School. Ethan Luker won second place, and Morgan Einodshofer won fourth place. Congrats!
Academic World Quest – Europe
Four students participated in the gifted Academic World Quest – Europe at Yough Middle School on December 6. Reyna Borrello, Dylan Holliday, Alex Nash and Michael Shaffer studied European countries and capitals, maps, flags, landmarks, etc., to prepare for this competition.
The team came in fourth place, and Dylan Holliday won first place individual. Great job to all!
Twelve middle school gifted students participated in the Quiz Bowl at West Hempfield Middle School on Wednesday, November 15. Students answered questions based on general knowledge on topics such as math, social studies, science, and literature.
Team A consisted of Sarah Ruschak (captain), Dylan Holliday, Nick Reda, Reyna Borrello, Jake Wessel, and Michael Shaffer. Team B consisted of Ellie Cochenour (captain), Stephanie Woosley, Gabby Lauzon, Emma Fitch, Morgan Einodshofer, and Drew Petke. The students were great representatives of BVA Middle School.
Kuddos to the students for a job well done!
In Round Two, lawyers Stephanie Woosley, Jacob Wessel, and Delaney Patterson and witnesses Gabby Lauzon, Nick Reda, and Jake Pfarr participated.
Architecture Design Informational Meeting
On September 22, the following students were accompanied by Mrs. Klinsky to the Pittsburgh History and Landmark Architecture Design Meeting in West Newton.
The students were informed of the parameters of the project. This year’s challenge is to update/remodel/repurpose the former GC Murphy building in West Newton. Students will apply architecture and engineering skills to compete the project, which will be held in March. Let’s all wish them Good Luck!
Visit the Remember link for a list of some of the student activities and photo galleries from previous years.