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New & Notable - July 2023

FCAHS Team Wins National Robotics Championships

A team of 15 Fox Chapel Area High School students was named overall in the ’Burgh Bash National Championships,’ hosted by the BotsIQ manufacturing workforce program. The competition was held on May 19 and 20, 2023, at Rosedale Technical College in Kennedy Township. Thirty-eight teams competed in the event, including teams from California and Kansas. Even though the team’s 15-pound BattleBot had a mechanical error, they still managed to place second in the battle portion of the event. Their record of 9-0, averaged with the team’s outstanding engineering and documentation scores, granted them the overall grand champions. Junior Eduardo Phelan-Vidal was responsible for researching, documenting, preliminary design, and assembly of the BattleBot’s frame, armor, and weapon systems in the three-dimensional modeling software. Senior Adam Zimmerman aided in the creation and commanded the mechanical construction of the complex aerospace titanium, nylon, and structural aluminum assemblies. Sophomore Jackson Hagler oversaw the power system, battery, electrical design, and soldering, aided by freshman Benjamin Sun. Seniors Aiden Dorneich and Kevin Quinn were responsible for the propulsion and programmable control systems. Adam drove the robot with precise control and unmatched strategy during competition, while Aiden controlled the offensive weapon. The other members of the team consisted of senior Samuel Kuhns; juniors Ava McCaffery, Aiden Purcell, and Lucy Rygelski; sophomores Riley Puklus, Graeson Santucci, and Keegan Scanlon; and freshmen Krisztian Salvador and Alanna Sloss.

Fourteen Aquinas Academy Students Earn Awards at PJAS State Competition

May 14-16 at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, eighth-grade students from Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh competed at the State Meeting of the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS). The fourteen students participated in the Region 7 Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science Competition at Baldwin High School on February 4. They scored first place, earning them a State College trip. Aquinas Academy students earned the following awards. First place: Aarona Casas Arnedos, Carly Bezila, Katrina Kedzierski, Lucy Keverline, Zach Schellhaas, Jack Stanton, Claire Urban. Second place: Kay Chufo, Alice Dingle, Matthew McGrath, Thomas Pellathy, Aurora Predis, Tabitha Ridings, Katherine Tarquinio. Aquinas eighth-grade student Brigid Mercer also made the trip as a volunteer Technician.

Mattress Factory presents Shohei Katayama’s As Below, So Above

On May 8, 2023, the Mattress Factory presented a new solo exhibition from Japanese American artist Shohei Katayama. Shohei Katayama explores the connection between nature, technology, and the scientific forces that shape human experiences and interactions through his work. It embraces principles of order and chaos to generate meditative spaces through movement and sound. He has been in exhibits nationally and internationally, including at the Palazzo Mora in Venice, Italy. As Below, So Above invites viewers to challenge their perceived reality and consider their place in a complex and ever-changing world. The exhibition draws inspiration from the ancient Hermetic phrase, As Below, So Above, and explores the interplay and interconnectedness of ’all things’ through a busy work spanning two levels of the Mattress Factory’s original warehouse building. The exhibition runs until May 19, 2024.

Sewickley Academy Student Uses Senior Project to Raise Awareness of Issues in Iran

Nikki Golestan is a senior at Sewickley Academy and a dual citizen of the United States and Iran. She is raising awareness of Iran through her senior project, artwork, and website. Golestan’s senior project, titled ”Bleeding for Persepolis, the Land of Broken Promises,” includes the creation of artwork that highlights race, society, freedom, and religion and emphasizes the problems in Iran through a visual account of the history from the beginnings of the Persian Empire to present day issues. Her work features approximately a half dozen mixed media pieces, including watercolors, acrylics, beet juice, and other natural elements. Donations (and all proceeds from the sale of artwork) will be given to the Center for Human Rights in Iran. In addition to her senior project and artwork, Golestan, with the help of classmate Alexandra Cordle, has created a website titled ”What Women are Losing/What the Regime is Taking.” Their goal with the site is to draw attention to the fight for women’s rights in Iran and suggest ways to help through donations, signing a petition, and encouraging conversation about the topic. As her awareness of the plight of the Iranian people has expanded and she has begun speaking out on her own, it is unsafe for her to return to the country, particularly in light of recent arrests and public executions.

Alpha PJAS State Award

Five Providence Heights Alpha School students participated in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Sciences (PJAS) state competition in State College, PA, on May 15, 2023. Linda Cessar, a middle school science teacher, led the students. The following students earned these awards. First place awards: Aine Corrigan and Dylan DeVore. Second place awards: Lily O’Neill, Eva Palladino, and Isabela Oviedo.

Monumental Summer Spectacle in the Cultural District—Architects of Air: Daedalum Arrives in the Backyard at 8th & Penn from the UK

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust welcomes Architects of Air: Daedalum July 1- September 4, 2023, in the Backyard at 8th & Penn. Be prepared to be immersed in a multi-sensory light, color, and sound experience. This monumental, inflatable, walk-in sculpture known as a “luminarium,” half the size of a football field, transports guests into another world. Cavernous domes, enchanting tunnels, and captivating pods bring guests of all ages to explore this artistic phenomenon. Since 1992 more than three million visitors in over 40 countries across five continents have been welcomed into Architects of Air’s monumental luminaria. This summer, Daedalum, one of several touring luminaria created by Architects of Air’s founder, designer, and artistic director Alan Parkinson, will welcome thousands of visitors—regional residents and out-of-town visitors alike. Daedalum’s core element is a maze of 19 egg-shaped domes whose spatial arrangement creates mysterious sightlines. Daedalum’s Tree is an adventurous assembly of intersecting volumes rising above the visitor with inspiring complexity. Call 412-456-6666 for tickets. Tickets start at $20 for adults and $10 for children.

Innamorato: PHARE funds include $160,000 to the TriBoro Ecodistrict

State Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, announced on June 14 that $160,000 in Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement funds was awarded to the TriBoro Ecodistrict. City of Bridges Community Land Trust would convert one currently vacant home in the Millvale, Etna, and Sharpsburg area to a long-term, affordable rental unit and renovate three currently empty, blighted structures acquired from the TriCOG Land Bank into permanently affordable homeownership. Allegheny County was awarded a total of $8.6 million in PHARE funding, and these monetary awards are made possible by the Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency. Innamorato has introduced legislation (H.B. 1316) that would raise the cap on the Realty Transfer Tax contributions, a significant source of dollars for the state PHARE fund, from $60 million to $80 million for the 2023-24 fiscal year and then to a new final limit of $100 million for the 2025-26 fiscal year. The bill has bipartisan support and is ready for consideration by the full House.

FCAHS Student Places in National Geography & Political Science Bee Competitions

Six students of the Fox Chapel Area High School History Club members qualified for the National History Bowl. Elijah Conklin, a Fox Chapel Area High School senior, placed eighth in the United States Geography Championships and 21st in the National Political Science Bee. Elijah was at the competition with teammates seniors Nathaniel Green, Arvind Seshan, and Caleb Hahl and junior Logan Dressman, who qualified for the National History Bowl by being named semifinalists in the varsity division of the 2023 Western Pennsylvania History Bowl tournament. At nationals, only a tiebreaker kept the team from qualifying for the playoff rounds. Additionally, senior Prajval Sreenivas qualified for the national competition with the team but could not attend. The national competition was held on April 28 and 29 in Arlington, Virginia, and was sponsored by International Academic Competitions.

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