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Team SWARM Division Finalists in FIRST FRC Robotics Championships

Posted on: April 23, 2018
(photo courtesy of the Ratchet Rockers)

Congratulations to SWARM, the South West Albany Robotics Maniacs team, for placing as division finalists in the FIRST FRC Robotics world champion competition!

From Wednesday through Saturday last week, SWARM competed in Houston, Texas in the FRC World Championships. Over 400 FRC teams traveled to Worlds, and were split into 6 divisions. SWARM was placed in Hopper, arguably the most difficult division.

SWARM had some amazing games and performed very well. In the end, they ranked 17th out of the 68 teams in their division. During alliance selection, they were picked to be on the number 3 alliance, comprised of BumbleB from Israel, the Ratchet Rockers from Missouri, and Walton Robotics from Georgia. Their alliance won the quarter final matches 2 – 1, and won 2-0 in the semi finals.

In the finals for the Hopper field, their alliance played against the number 1 alliance of the Cheesy Poofs, Robowranglers, Spartabots, and Ha-Dream Team. The Cheesy Poofs went undefeated all season this year with an absolutely amazing robot, and won the Hopper division. They then moved on and proceeded to win every match in the round robin play for Einstein finals qualification matches, and finally won the World Championships 2 – 0.

Here is a playlist of all the SWARM matches from the World Championships.

From all of the students and mentors from SWARM, thank you for your support! It was an amazing season and a lot of fun.


Read more in the Democrat Herald.

Megan Cox Wins at OSAA Speech and Debate State Championships

Posted on: April 23, 2018

Junior Megan Cox won a state championship in the event of After-Dinner Speaking (ADS) on Saturday, April 21 at the OSAA Speech and Debate State Championships. ADS is an original six-minute speech that uses humor and satire to address a serious issue. Megan’s speech examined sexuality, specifically situations of heteronormativity, and used humor to explore ways humans could be tolerant of each other regardless of their sexual preference. The speech earned three first place votes from all three judges in the final round. Megan also earned 4th place in Humorous Interpretation, a 10-minute speech in which a speaker uses both verbal and nonverbal communication to present a published work to the audience. There were 62 schools competing from across Oregon, and not every school had a representative in each event. ADS had a field of 31 competitors, and Humorous had a field of 27. The last time West Albany won a state championship in ADS was in 1992 when Megan’s coach, Mr. Crow, won state with a speech about the elderly in America.

Megan has won and placed at many tournaments this year. Her successes have earned her thousands of dollars in scholarships and two spots at upcoming national tournaments. In May, she will compete in Denver Colorado in the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions in the events of Humorous Interpretation and Original Oratory Speaking. In June, she will compete in the National Speech and Debate Association national tournament in the event of Duo Interpretation with Junior Kayla Lesser.

Megan Cox, 2018 ADS state champion and Mr. Crow, 1992 ADS State Champion

WAHS student Patrick Spence is elected Oregon Youth Governor

Posted on: April 11, 2018

West Albany junior Patrick Spence is the next YMCA Oregon Youth Governor. Spence, who also serves as a student representative on the School Board, campaigned for the office at a Youth and Government legislative conference last weekend. He was one of four students running for the office.

Youth and Government is a program for high school students across Oregon. It provides the opportunity to experience the legislative process firsthand and for the student voice to be heard.

Spence’s campaign platform includes increasing student participation rates in the statewide program. Oregon has a lower student participation rate than most states. His platform includes increasing visibility and reaching out to other schools.

As governor, Spence will travel to Washington, D.C., in June.

FBLA members qualify for National Conference

Posted on: April 9, 2018

Congratulations to the FBLA club on their success this weekend at the State Conference in Portland! These future business leaders competed in various business tests and performance events. Conner Riley placed in the top 10 in Help Desk, Haley and Riley Spears placed in the top 10 in Marketing, and Grant Farley and Alex Neil placed third in Entrepreneurship, which qualifies them to compete at the National Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in June!

FBLA members at state conference in Portland.

New Anti-Bullying Task Force yields recommendations

Posted on: April 8, 2018

Last month, the district’s new Anti-Bullying Task Force presented recommendations to the School Board.

The task force, which is comprised of GAPS staff, parents, and community partners, has had two community forums. At the first forum, a definition of bullying was presented, along with various statistics and facts related to bullying and its effects on students. The group also began to look at the scope of bullying in our community, both at the school level and in the community at large.

At the second forum, the Task Force formulated concrete suggestions for the school Board to consider to address the problem.

The forums yielded recommendations for improvements to school climate that included curriculum and behavioral supports to improve school climate; new rules and policies to prevent bullying and education about policies and consequences; staff training in bullying prevention; and programs to improve coordinated prevention efforts.

Anti-Bullying Task Force Recommendations to the Board

Read the story in the Democrat-Herald

WAHS honored by Special Olympics

Posted on: April 2, 2018

Before spring break, West Albany High Schools earned a distinction by Special Olympics of Oregon for inclusiveness. The school was named an Oregon Unified Champion School.

Representatives from Special Olympics presented the school with a Unified Champion banner during a school awards assembly, where they were also presented with the OSAA Unified Basketball Championship trophy for prevailing in the recent unified basketball tournament.

The Unified Champion award honors schools for creating a socially inclusive climate.

“The Unified Champion Schools approach incorporates Special Olympics sports, leadership and related activities that empower youth to be change agents in their communities. This is a paradigm shift from a focus on events to that of a whole school movement for inclusion.

Special education and general education students alongside educators and administrators are encouraged to collaborate to create supportive classrooms, school-wide activities and opportunities for growth and success for all.

When everyone in a school fosters a socially inclusive school climate that emphasizes acceptance, respect and human dignity for all students, schools become places where no student is isolated because of the degree or type of disability or the services required to meet his/her needs.

Together we are creating a Unified Generation that Chooses to Include.”

Congratulations, Unified Sports!

Special Olympics Champion Schools website

Photo credit: Special Olympics Oregon