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Robotics Past, Present, & Future

Posted on Feb 27, 2019 11:29:05 AM by Hannah & Elizabeth

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Greetings from Liberty Christian School in the year 2017.  In 2017, there was no robotics program and nobody knew if one even existed.   There were Legos, computers, Knex, and Erector sets.

Then one day, a parent began to explore the options for students to learn more about STEM.  In the late summer of 2017 robotics became a reality for five students, four boys and one girl.  That’s me, Hannah. LCS Robotics 2017

I was the only girl on the team. This  had its advantages and disadvantages. The boys mostly asked me to get things for them or to clean up stuff.  The boys really didn’t think much about me being there and often did their own thing until one day the coach asked the boys to do some documentation in the engineering notebook.

One of the boys responded with the comment,  “Can’t Hannah do that?”. Well... let me just say that never happened again.  My coach quickly stepped up to my defense and told the boys that I was not their secretary.  The whole dynamic of our team changed that day. I became one of the main coders last year and therefore did not do much building or driving.  We ended up having a very successful year with a great STEM project and went to the VEXIQ World Tournament.

 

LCS Robotics Vex ChampionshipThat was such an amazing experience.  I listened to so many motivational speakers who wanted to encourage the next generation of young kids to reach for the stars.  One person in particular that stands out in my mind is Ayah Bdeir. We have chosen her as our STEM role model because she was brave and found a way to make her dreams come true.

She is a female that had a dream and didn’t let anyone stop her.  I am sure that her girl power found it necessary to include men in the making of her Little Bits along the way but she did not let them take over her project.   She had a desire for electronics to reach the hands of all children, male and female. She did so with Ayah Bdeir Roboticsthe invention of Little Bits. They are like an electronic version of Legos.  They are so cool! She had done it, she stepped into a world where men mainly dominated and made herself known.

At the VEX IQ World Tournament she stood before me receiving the 2018 STEM
HERO award and was inducted into the REC Foundation Hall of Fame for her personal and professional contributions to young people.  Ayah said that the power of “electronics should be in everyone’s hands so that anyone can build, pro-type, and invent”. In 2014, Popular Mechanics recognized her as one of 25 makers who are reinventing the American dream for her creation of Little Bits.  Little Bits were created so that at the simplest level children and adults can play with lights, sounds, and sensors without any previous experience. How cool is that? I was so inspired by her that I couldn’t wait to get back to school to tell all my friends about it!   From that day forward everyone wanted to join the robotics team.

                                                                                               

Hannah LCS 2018 Hi, my name is Elizabeth.  

Let’s jump forward to the summer of 2018.  I am one of the girls that was touched by Hannah’s enthusiasm of robotics and her trip to the World Tournament.  

This summer LCS began enrollment for its next robotics team. Three of their original teams members were not going to return in the fall.  After having the first year behind them the LCS robotics team was ready to recruit for year two. This year we have grown from one team to three teams.  Guess what the boy to girl ratio is this year?

I will give you a hint…. It is not 4:1.   It is 7:7! We are equal in number. When we use the term GIRL POWER we do not stress that we are better than the boys.  We just want to encourage other girls to take the step into the STEM environment and see the many fun opportunities that are there for them to try.

LCS Robotics Family 2019

This picture shows the great support of our families.  Without them, none of this would be possible. They support us and our coaches.  They come to all of our tournaments and encourage us even when we don’t get a trophy.

We have as many girls interested as we do boys.  That is a great feeling to be in a group of equally diverse students.  Our LCS Robotics 2019 2coaches make sure that each of the students are equally challenged in all aspects of the program.  We all participate in brainstorming, building, coding, driving, and working in the engineering notebook.

LCS Robotics 2019We all take turns at doing everything so that we know all about our robot and how it was designed and built.  Some of us are stronger in certain areas than others, but we continue to encourage each other to learn and grow.  Our coaches make sure that there is never a job that is labeled as a boy/girl job and therefore we are all treated with equal challenges.  Our coaches really do rock ( by the way, we have two female coaches and one male coach)!

Now let’s travel to the state tournament and beyond… hopefully, the summer of 2019 will bring us even more excited participants and our teams will grow even more as more girls are empowered to step out and feel welcomed to join this crazy, fun, mind challenging, afterschool world known as robotics.  We are beginning to understand that it is about the journey and the things we learn and take with us along the way.

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Liberty Christian School Community Spotlight: Bethany Lucas

Posted on Jul 12, 2016 3:00:00 PM by Kim Schlauch

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This month’s Liberty Christian School Community Spotlight features class of 2012 alumni Bethany Lucas. Bethany, a recent high school graduate, has a passion for learning foreign languages and plans for pursuing this passion in college and beyond.  Here is what she had to share with us.

Q. In what grades did you attend LCS?

A. I attended Liberty Christian School from 6th through 8th grade.

Q. What have been your education and/or work experiences since you graduated from LCS?

A. Since LCS, I have attended high school at Chapelgate Christian Academy for four years and graduated from there this past May.

Q. What LCS teacher had the most influence on you and why?

A. All of the teachers at Liberty Christian School have had a huge impact on my life, but I would say Mr. Tibbels had the greatest impact. Under his teaching, I was able to develop and improve my writing skills.  He also encouraged me to challenge the status quo and try to positively change any situation.

Q. What is a favorite LCS memory of yours?

A. My favorite LCS memory would be the 8th grade Costa Rica missions trip I went on in 2012. I loved every minute of that trip. The ziplining and snorkeling were awesome, but the best part of the trip was making connections with the children of La Carpio and teaching them English and sharing the Gospel with them.

Q. What is an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your life so far?

A. There is no particular accomplishment in my life that I am most proud of to be honest. If I had to pick an event in my life, I would say earning my second degree black belt in Shotokan karate on May 25, 2013.  After I passed my exam in Philadelphia, I became the highest ranking minor at my dojo.

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Q. What types of ministries and leadership activities have been involved with since graduating from LCS?

A. At Chapelgate I was class vice president my junior and senior years as well as vice president of the National Honor Society at my school.  This summer, I will be involved in World Relief as a volunteer.

Q. What are your plans for the next few years now that you’ve graduated from high school?

A. I will be attending the University of Maryland College Park and I will major in Arabic Studies and minor in Spanish.  I am considering adding either Government & Politics or Community Health as another major.  During my time at UMD, I plan on studying abroad in Spain and Morocco.  I also hope to get an internship either at a government agency or a language institute within the next few years.

Q. What inspired you to pursue studies in Arabic?

A. There are multiple reasons I became interested in studying Arabic.  One, learning foreign languages is a passion of mine and I wanted to learn a language outside of the Indo-European language family.  Also, I find Arab culture and its people so fascinating and I want to explore it in every way possible, and the language and its structure is so important to begin understanding the culture. Additionally there is a gross misunderstanding and misconception about Arabs and their culture. I hope that learning about the Arab world will help me educate others into seeing the beauty of their culture and not the bad that so many people associate with Arabs.

Q. What do you envision yourself doing 5 years from now?

A. Five years from now, I will have graduated from UMD and have my bachelor’s degree. I’m not sure where or what I will be doing exactly. I plan to either live in Washington DC working for the government or a language institute, attending graduate school, or living somewhere in Spain (preferably Barcelona or Seville). I would like to travel to South America and the Middle East within in this time period. I also believe that my faith will be stronger in this time, and I hope to have shared the word of God with others that I meet. 

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Liberty Christian School Community Spotlight: Andrew Truong

Posted on Jun 28, 2016 3:00:00 PM by Kim Schlauch

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This month’s Liberty Christian School Community Spotlight features class of 2007 alumni and Naval Academy graduate Andrew Truong.  Andrew is currently pursuing his dream of becoming a Naval Aviator, a dream that was sparked by an event that took place one day during his 5th grade science class at LCS.  Here is what Andrew had to share with us.

Q. What have been your education and/or work experiences since you graduated from LCS?

A. After graduating from LCS, I attended high school at Chapelgate Christian Academy where I participated in both JV and varsity soccer, varsity lacrosse, and the National Honor Society. I graduated in June of 2011 from CCA near the top of my class and with honors.  Having been accepted into the United States Naval Academy, I left for Annapolis to begin my military career as a Midshipman at the end of that month.

While a midshipman, I participated on the Navy Paintball Team, the rock climbing club, the Company intramural soccer team, and held the billets of Company Adjutant and Company Platoon Commander my senior year. In May of 2015, I graduated from the Naval Academy with the USNA Class of 2015, receiving a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, a Commission as an Ensign into the United States Navy, as well as a spot in Flight School.

That summer, while waiting to report to flight school, I worked as a sailing instructor at the Academy, teaching the incoming plebes basic sailing and seamanship while also having the collateral duty of being Maintenance Officer of the fleet of the Navy 26ft sailboats.

I reported to Pensacola, FL to begin flight school in October, where I completed Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API) at Naval Aviation Schools Command. I am currently stationed in Corpus Christi, TX as a Student Naval Aviator, beginning Primary with Training Squadron Two Eight (VT-28) Rangers.

Q. What  LCS teacher had the most influence on you and why?

A. I was blessed to have had extremely caring and helpful teachers at LCS. They all cared about my development and I would not be where I am today without their help. While they all influenced my life for the better, the one teacher who had the most influence on my life was my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Thompson. It was Mrs. Thompson who invited a pilot to talk to our class, which was the biggest influence on why I chose the military and Naval Aviation as a career. If it had not been for her lesson planning and her desire to make the lessons more interesting, I would not be where I am today.

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Q. What is your favorite LCS memory?

A. Playing soccer for LCS was probably my favorite memory. I liked the competition as well as hanging out with my friends on the field.

Q. What is an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your life so far?

A. The accomplishment I am most proud of has to be following the dreams I’ve had since I was a little kid and never giving up on them. Looking back, the Naval Academy wasn’t particularly easy, and I’m glad I didn’t give up and pushed through the tough times. 

Q. What inspired you to want attend the Naval Academy and become a pilot?

A. One of the science units during 5th grade was a unit on flight, where the students would learn the basic concepts of flight and how an airplane works. Well, one of my classmate’s dad, Mr. Anglin, was a pilot for Southwest and a Marine Corp Fighter Pilot prior to that. Mrs. Thompson, in an effort to make the lesson more interesting, asked him to come in and talk to us about flight and about being a pilot. To try and spark our interest about aviation and flight, he brought in some videos of planes getting shot down by missiles (no pilots in them of course), and a video of him taking off as an F-18 pilot. Of course, as 5th graders, we were all “oohing” and “ahhing” watching these videos of planes taking off and getting shot down.

After showing us the videos, he brought out the flight gear he wore as a Marine Pilot, which included a flight suit, G-suit, and his flight helmet. When he asked for volunteers, every hand in the room shot up wanting to try the gear on. Luckily for me, the book fair was right before that and I had purchased a book on military planes of the world. The book just happened to be on my desk, and when he saw it, he asked if I wanted to come up to the front and try the gear on.

I still remember this moment very vividly. I walked up to the front of the classroom and put on the flight suit and G-suit. He then explained how each piece of gear worked, and as he was explaining what a G-suit does, he blew the G-suit up, simulating what it does during high G flights. I remember thinking to my 5th grade self, “This is cool! I want to do this when I grow up. I don’t want to sit behind a desk all day, I want to fly planes for a living!” So, since that fateful day, I’ve been working towards achieving my goal of becoming a Naval Aviator.

Q. What are some of the interesting things you have done/places you have been since being in the military?

A. Being in the military has afforded me a lot of really cool experiences that most people will never get to do in their lifetime. I’ve been underway on a US Warship for a month (not as cool as it sounds) and underway on a nuclear submarine (way cooler than it sounds), where I’ve gotten to steer the submarine, conn it, climb into the torpedo tubes, and, of all things, sleep next to a nuclear missile.

I’ve done a sailing cruise where we sailed a 44 foot sailboat from Annapolis to Charleston and back with a crew of 10, tens of miles from shore, through multiple storms, and with no immediate help around. I’ve been able to receive fast rope training, where I’ve gotten to make three jumps out the back of a CH-47 from altitudes varying from 50 ft to over 100 ft (If you’ve seen the beginning of Black Hawk Down, then you’ll know what fast roping is).

I was able to participate in Powered Flight, a program that the Naval Academy had where they would give you 10.5 hours of flight time, and if you were able to complete the syllabus, you would be able to fly an aircraft by yourself for the first time. I’ve also been given the opportunity to participate in NOLS, the National Outdoor Leadership School, where we hiked and mountaineered through 115 miles of Alaskan Bushlands and Glaciers for a month, living solely off of what we brought and what we were occasionally resupplied with. I’ve had other exciting and funny experiences as a midshipman; however, these experiences are the ones that I hold most dear to my heart.

Q. What advice do you have for current LCS students that might like to join the military in the future?

A. This may sound cliché, but my number one advice is to talk to your parents about it. You may deny this as a kid and young adult, but parents are wiser than they seem. They know you better than you think and they can give you advice on whether the military is the right choice for you. They’ll be your number one supporters in life and I’m sure they’ll also appreciate the heads-up that you’re interested in joining the military. Other than that, if you are still interested in joining the military, go for it and give 100% in what you do. Everything else will work itself out.

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Q. What do you envision yourself doing 5 years from now?

A. Ideally, 5 years from now, I will have achieved my goal and will be flying F-18 Super Hornets off of aircraft carriers for a living. I also hope to be able to visit foreign ports and experience the different cultures of the world, as well as finding a woman that I’d like to settle down with one day.

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Liberty Christian School Community Spotlight: Caleb Hopler

Posted on May 24, 2016 3:00:00 PM by Kim Schlauch

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This month’s Liberty Christian Spotlight features alum Caleb Hopler, a 2007 graduate of LCS and son of former LCS teacher Terri Hopler.  Caleb’s interest in environmental studies led him to become involved in numerous international sustainability and social justice projects since his days at Liberty Christian School, including an internship with Maderas Collective in Nicaragua.  Here is what Caleb had to share with us.

Q. What have been your education and/or work experiences since you graduated from LCS?

A. After attending Liberty Christian School from kindergarten through 8th grade, I went on to Chapelgate Christian Academy for high school and Virginia Tech for college.

Q. What  LCS teacher had the most influence on you and why?

A. Titus McGrath (former middle school science teacher). His teaching methods and overall personality kindled a love for natural science in me. Beyond education, he and I became friends and are still friends to this day. Not only was he a teacher and friend, he served as one of my mentors during middle school.

Q. What is your favorite LCS memory?

A. During the school’s auction fundraiser, Mrs. Jackson (former 5th grade teacher) offered a fun overnight trip to her house for the winner plus three friends. I believe she had done this multiple years in a row and it was quick to become the prize every student wanted. Josh Hindle won and I was one of the friends picked to go with him. After school on a Friday we had a big dinner, went out to the movies and watched “Holes,” then just had a big slumber party the rest of the night.

Q. What is an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your life so far?

A. I have accomplished a lot so far in my life, graduating from Virginia Tech, conquering a multitude of severe health issues, and many international sustainability and social justice projects. However, what I am most happy about is the fact that I have been able to accomplish these things with God as my focus. I could not have accomplished anything if it weren’t for my reliance on Him.

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Q. Is there anything from your time at LCS that sparked your interest in environmental studies or working in Central America?

A.  Liberty Christian School  is as a wonderful school that taught me much more than education, it also instilled values, passions, integrity, and a respect for all life. LCS, as well as my parents, laid the foundation for me to be able to hear God’s calling, and in this way, LCS helped lead me to work internationally in sustainable ventures.

Q. What type of work and ministry have you been involved with in Nicaragua? Describe what led you to your internship with the Maderas Collective.

A. During my time at Virginia Tech, I had a yearlong internship that took me to Nicaragua twice, focusing on ecotourism and fuel-efficient cookstoves. With a love for the country and the contacts I built up, it was easy to decide that after graduating Virginia Tech I would work in Nicaragua in sustainability, hoping to create lasting partnerships that would allow me to return to Nicaragua for new projects in the future. After cold-calling the CEO of Maderas Collective, they took me in and mentored me until I was ready to begin my first project: biomass briquettes made from local agricultural wastes. Currently, I am creating and leading a briquettes team in San Jose de Bocay, teaching English in a local school, and helping to design a sustainability program with the wastes generated by production at Maderas Collective.

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Q. What are some of the interesting things you have been a part of since moving to Nicaragua?

A. Nicaragua is a fascinating place with a rich culture and gorgeous natural environments. I have hiked volcanoes, explored a cave with thousands of bats flying around me, rescued a wild sloth that was stuck in the middle of the road, watched a rural rodeo during a holiday… The list continues. Every day I experience something new.

Q. What do you envision yourself doing 5 years from now?

A. Though I love exploring new things, I also love familiarity, a place I know very well to return to after new great adventures. Therefore I’d like to move back to either Maryland, Northern Virginia, or Las Vegas, NV (all places I’ve lived) and work a job in sustainability while on the side, running a nonprofit to benefit Nicaragua.

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