The Waldorf Way: Trevor wins big with his magnetic linear accelerator

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Trevor Sylvester captured the first place — the Mt. Washington Observatory Emerging Scientist Award — at this year's Mt. Washington Valley Regional Science and Technology Science Fair. (COURTESY PHOTO)


By Huntington Barclay

Just 14 years old and an eighth grader at the local White Mountain Waldorf School, Trevor Sylvester captured the first place — the Mt. Washington Observatory Emerging Scientist Award — at this year's Mt. Washington Valley Regional Science and Technology Science Fair.

How'd he do it? Simply by thinking big — really big. He wanted to know if a rail-gun could propel an object into outer space. His conclusion after months of pondering and experimentation was — no. The machinery to do it would have to be so massive that it would be effectively impossible to make here on earth.

Using bearings and rare earth magnets, he found that rolling the first bearing to the end of a one foot track transferred kinetic energy from the magnet to the next bearing, propelling it forward at a higher speed. The more this was repeated, the higher the energy count and the faster the bearing speed. Seeing his demo was almost —shocking.

The visitor would roll the first bearing down the track and, on contact with the magnet, 'BANG' could feel the power as the small balls shot against the back wall of the exhibit. I know I was impressed. I came away wondering what had happened. When I interviewed him at the Waldorf Mayfair he almost casually told me that he used sound waves to calculate that the first one-foot board would propel it's bearing to the end at 1/39th of a second. Further calculations convinced him however that the bearings could never make it into deep space.

Is Trevor a budding genius who will soon be discovered by the military to work on black ops? "Not me" he says. While the experiment was an interesting project, he loves nature and wants to become a game warden. Probably a good choice, for now. But when the big brass arrive at his door in a few years with an offer he can't refuse, he just might have a change of heart.

I also want to congratulate our alumni — Eva Drummond for winning second place and Samantha Carus for winning third place.

Huntington Barclay is proud a White Mountain Waldorf School parent.


Pine Tree students take kindness to another level

By Lloyd Jones

CONWAY — Students at Pine Tree School know the importance of being kind to one another.

Students at the Center Conway K-6 school have always celebrated the 100th day of school, usually with an assembly, but for the past two years they've taken a whole different approach — one that has benefited seven local charities.

"A parent of a sixth grader wrote me an email (two years ago) saying, 'Wouldn't it be neat if (the school) picked a charity and gave back,'" Principal Aimee Frechette said. "I said we can do bigger than that, let's pick seven. I thought it was really important to go beyond the typical 100th-day celebration."

Frechette said students and staff spent the month of January promoting kindness. They set a goal of 1,000 random acts of kindness for the month, keeping tally marks in classrooms for each good deed.

"When caught being kind, students collected tally marks that indicated the number of kind acts they were caught engaging in within our school," Frechette explained. "At the end of the month, at our showcase (assembly), we tallied the number of kindness acts."

The students not only reached their mark, but blew right by it, ending up with 1,235 acts over four weeks.

"At that point I added an additional challenge to everyone," Frechette said. "In conjunction with celebrating the 100th day of school, let's collect 100 items to donate to local charities and non-profit organizations to continue to promote kindness into the community."

Feb. 12 marked the 100th day of school, but on Feb. 1, Frechette presented the idea to each of the grades, K-6. The students quickly embraced the challenge.

Fifth grader Ben Biche and his schoolmates warmed to the new challenge.

"All the classes had to do different things," Ben said. "My brother is in kindergarten, his class had to collect over 100 coins for Jen's Friends. When I was in kindergarten we went to Mineral Springs (Care and Rehab Center) to play mancala (an ancient board game). This year we wrote Valentine's."

Kindergarten students collected more than 100 coins for Jen's Friends.

First graders collected more than 100 food items for end 68 Hours of Hunger.

Second graders collected more than 100 items for the Conway Area Humane Society, responding to the shelter's wish list for items such as cat and dog treats, cat toys, paper towels, toilet paper, issues, trash bags and other items

Third graders gathered more than 100 articles of clothing for the MWV Children's Museum thrift store.

Fourth graders painted more than 100 pieces of artwork for patients at Memorial Hospital.

Fifth graders made and wrote 100 Valentine's Day cards for residents of Mineral Springs Care and Rehab Center.

Sixth graders collected more than 100 books to donate to Little Hands, Big Dreams Childcare Center.

On Feb. 12, as part of the whole day kindness celebration, the students traveled to each of the organizations to deliver their donated items.

"We came up with a form letter that we sent home to parents, and the response was overwhelming," Frechette said. "Collectively Pine Tree School students gathered over 1,000 items to donate in celebration of the 100th day. It was incredible to see these acts of kindness.

"I think this kind of speaks to the school climate and culture here," she continued. "Our kids are learning to be productive citizens."

"We're learning about kindness on a new level," Ben said.

Will Pine Tree continue this new tradition?

"Absolutely," Frechette said, smiling. "My hope is that each year we'll be able to expand on it. It was a fun project, one the kids really got into."


Fryeburg math team garners state championship

4-7-fryeburg-academy-gold-math-teamThe Fyeburg Academy Gold team took top honors in the Maine Math State Championships on Tuesday. Team member are (front row, from left) Sindy Du, Brian Gong (holding photo of captain QiaQiaji, Su Oh, Mike Chen and Alex Liu. Back row (from left) Jason Huang, Erik Porter, Ethan Wong, Rondo Chang, Lucia Chen and Coach Erik Gustafson. (COURTESY PHOTO)FRYEBURG, Maine — Fryeburg Academy successfully defended its Maine State Math Meet title on Tuesday. Ten members of the Fryeburg Gold team attended the annual meet at the Augusta Civic Center, where 888 of the top math students in Pine Tree State were present, representing 96 teams.

The Raiders entered the fray ranked first in Division B and third overall.

The morning rounds consisted of six individual rounds of three questions each, covering a wide variety of math areas, including algebra, geometry, probability and trigonometry. After three rounds, Fryeburg opened a solid lead, leading rival John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, Maine, by 33 points.

After Rounds 4-6, the Fryeburg Gold team came out on top, leading the B division with 509 points out of a possible 720, with John Bapst close on their heels at 495 points.

Awards were presented for the Maine Association of Math Leagues season top scorers.

The season consisted of five monthly math meets from September through March in which all students took identical tests at regional high schools.

Fryeburg co-captain Qia Qia Ji, who was unable to attend the meet, was awarded a silver chalice and $200 as the third place overall mathlete in the state of Maine.

Co-captain Ethan Wang accepted a plaque for Maine's third best math team for all divisions.

Division A schools Bangor High and the Maine School of Science and Math were the first- and second-place schools this year.

4-7-fryeburg-academy-math-team-at-augusta-civic-center-math-teamsTen members of the Fryeburg Gold team attended the annual meet at the Augusta Civic Center, where 888 of the top math students in Pine Tree State were present, representing 96 teams. (COURTESY PHOTO)Local math phenom Erik Porter led the Fryeburg Gold Team in the morning individual rounds with a score of 68 points, answering 17 out of 18 difficult questions correctly. He placed 10th overall and fifth in the Junior Division. Mike Chen was awarded a state medal as the seventh best junior in the individual morning rounds, with a score of 63 points.

After the awards ceremony, the teams gathered at their assigned tables on the floor of the Civic Center and began the team rounds. The first two rounds were relay rounds, in which each student solved one problem, then passed the answer back to a teammate. This answer, combined with the answer for the next students question was in turn passed back, until a final team answer and all five teammates answers were written on a scorecard.

If the final team answer was correct, the team was given an additional 10 points for the round. The next two rounds consisted of all 10 team members working together on 8 questions in a group setting. The Fryeburg team remained intensely focused and composed for both rounds.

After the dust settled, scores were tabulated and the teams anxiously awaited the results. In Division B, consisting of medium-sized high schools, the Raider cipherers held on to their morning lead and came out on top with a team total of 657 points, 15 points ahead of contender John Bapst. The Fryeburg Gold team was awarded a first place plaque for Division B and a third place plaque for all four divisions combined.

Team members and individual scores were: Erik Porter: 68 points, 10th place overall, Mike Chen: 63 points, 24th place, Ethan Wang: 60 points, 33rd place, Alex Liu: 58 points, 38th place, Jason Huang: 52 points, 58th place, Sindy Du: 52 points, 58th place, Brain Gong: 50 points, 66th place, Su Hyang Oh: 45 points, 92nd place, Lucia Chen: 37 points, 130th place, and Rondo Chang: 24 points, 274th place.

"It was an honor to work with such a talented and ambitious group of students this year," Coach Erik Gustafson stated. "Their hard work, dedication and poise under pressure were rewarded with another State Math Championship title for Fryeburg Academy."

Under the SAU 9 Umbrella: Academians, athletes, entrepreneurs, and volunteers

Welcome to the SAU 9's biweekly column. SAU 9 is comprised of five elementary schools, a middle school, high school and a career and technical center. This bi-weekly column will highlight four schools per column. This week will focus on Jackson Grammar School, Josiah Bartlett Elementary School, Kennett High School, and the Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center.

Jackson Grammar School

The Jackson Grammar School Pledge opens with: "At Jackson Grammar School we respect all people. We respect the world, indoors and out." Winter presents a great opportunity to be out, and JGS students and staff embrace it. Parent and volunteer involvement make possible the after-school Nordic skiing program hosted by the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation and the half-day Eastern Slope Ski Club alpine skiing program based at Black Mountain Ski Area.

Nordic skiing and snowshoeing are part of the JGS physical education curriculum. Students have access to the nature trail and outdoor classroom using snow shoes, donated by Memorial Hospital, one of the Health and Wellness Committee initiatives led by school nurse Helen Crowell. Nordic ski season will culminate in the Parent Teacher Organization ski-a-thon, a fundraiser that happens on Read Across America Day in March and benefits local and international literacy projects, the PTO's student programming, and JSTF youth programs.

Turning indoors, JGS teachers and enrichment coordinator Megan Johnson have incorporated new programs to support differentiated learning in vocabulary and math in each of the multi-age classrooms. Career interviews continue at the all-school meeting, JGS's weekly gathering of students, staff, parents and community members. So far, students have interviewed the police chief, a local baker, and the town librarian to learn how school was important to them as they pursued their career goals. These visits echo the end of our school pledge: "When we come to Jackson Grammar School, we come for learning, community, and fun!" For more information on the multi-age, experiential learning programs visit the website

Josiah Bartlett Elementary School

Josiah Bartlett Elementary School accomplishes many things working together with their community. In early fall, JBES had one of its best fundraisers ever. Parents, students, friends and townsfolk purchased candles that helped raise an incredible $2,292.20. All of that went into the Children of Bartlett School (COBS) fund to help children at the school participate in all school and sports activities.

JBES Student Council members had a late fall gift card and frozen turkey drive with all proceeds going to the Glen Food Pantry. They also held a non-perishable food drive just before Christmas. Students in fifth and sixth grade media classes donated funds to the Glen Food Pantry also. These students run the school store, and just before the holidays they gave $100 from their profits to help out members in the community.

Kennett High School

Kennett students are successful scholars, athletes, volunteers, and some KHS students are all of the above. Thirty-three KHS seniors were recognized by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association as scholar athletes at a ceremony in Conway on Feb. 1. In order to qualify, a student must be a member of at least two NHIAA-recognized varsity sports, have maintained a minimum B+ grade-point average for his/her high school career, and demonstrated proven leadership skills and community service involvement.

Another community service that KHS students are providing is the Eagle's Clawset, which opened on Thursday, Feb. 4. It is a "free boutique" that is open to all students, no matter the need. The Clawset offers clothing, shoes, accessories, canned and dry goods, and school supplies. The grand opening was dedicated to Starr Hill, who was an inspiration for the original Eagle's Clawset.

Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center

The theme at the Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center this year is "Opportunities for Career Success!" Students in both advanced machine tool and health science are earning college credits for classes now. The aforementioned machine tool students have also earned certifications making them NASA contractors.

The Kennett Coders won their second consecutive state championship in a row at the New Hampshire-Vermont State Championships. Now they are headed to their fourth consecutive World Championship appearance in Kentucky.

From skiing to enrichments to fundraising and food drives, academic and extracurricular successes, state champions and NASA contractors, the students of SAU 9 are having a great 2015-2016. SAU 9 students are academians, athletes, entrepreneurs, and volunteers. Let's celebrate our well-rounded students of the Mount Washington Valley!