you're reading...

Cornelius News

Cornelius students capture national, worldwide honors

Horsepower Motorsports, Bailey Middle School’s National STEM competition team

Horsepower Motorsports, Bailey Middle School’s National STEM competition team

By Dave Vieser. Several teams from two Cornelius schools captured national honors at national and worldwide competitions. The award recipients included Horsepower Motorsports, Bailey Middle School’s National STEM League competition team, and two Odyssey of the Mind teams from Cornelius Elementary School.

The experience clearly had a strong impact on the students. “We get to represent our state, and meet other creative, intelligent people from all around the world,” said Mitchell King, 11. Fifth grader Stephanie Collella said her favorite part of the competition was “meeting people from other countries and getting as many pins from other countries as I can!”

The champions from Bailey Middle School participated in the Southern Topless Economy Modifieds competition where students design, modify and race scaled down electric radio-controlled vehicles to perform on road, oval and drag courses. “We went to Miami for the Nationals in May and took first place in Community Outreach and Team Presentation, second place in Graphic Design and Race Events, and third place in Data Driven Design,” said coach Stephanie Coggins. “I am so proud of these students, as they really worked hard.”

Bailey’s team started in 2013 and has amassed an impressive series of accomplishments in their short existence.

Meanwhile, some 1,600 miles away in Iowa, another group of Cornelius students were showing their talents and intellect to a worldwide Odyssey of the Mind competition audience. Odyssey of the Mind is a problem-solving competition involving students from kindergarten through college. Team members work together to solve a predefined problem and present their solution to the problem at an organized competition.

“Cornelius was the only elementary school in the county and Lake Norman area to move on to the world finals,” said coach Joanie Baker. “Over 800 teams from all over the world compete with over 12,000 people coming to the university for the event, so this is a big deal.”

Baker said that one team dealt with a problem entitled “Furs, Fins, Feathers, and Friends,” while the other participated in the “Something Fishy” competition. “Students had to perform an eight-minute skit to display their creative solution to the problem. They wrote their own script, made their own costumes, built a set, and had to meet various requirements for each problem. All has to be done without any outside help from adults.”

The furs/fins team came in eighth in the world out of 70 participating teams, while the something fishy team came in 23rd in the world out of 56 teams competing.

Besides Baker, the other coaches from Cornelius Elementary were Robin King, Theresa Colella, Joan Wise, Brant Hyatt and Chris Hollan. Baker said it wasn’t just the scores which meant a lot to the students. “In Iowa, we met students from many states and various countries throughout the world. In fact, one of our teams had a buddy team from Indonesia. Students also had a taste of college life by staying in the Iowa State dorms, riding campus buses to the performance halls, and eating in dining halls.”