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SCHOOLS BRIEFS: MCPS robotics teams dominate; youth essay contest
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SCHOOLS BRIEFS: MCPS robotics teams dominate; youth essay contest

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MCPS robotics

teams dominate

Martinsville Middle School’s Absolute Zero robotics team again has qualified for the robotics world championship after dominating a recent virtual competition among 30 teams from Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The team, consisting of 10 students between the ages of 12 and 14 and coached by Liz Lynch, Emily Harrell and Lizzy Fulcher, also was named grand champion received third place in robot game competition and won the VA-DC nomination for Global Innovation Awards for the second time in a row.

Patrick Henry Elementary School’s Ladybots team, coached by Lynch and Rita Ybarra, received the Judge’s Award for Division 1. The Ladybots team is made up of nine members all in the fourth grade.

“I’ve been on robotics teams for the past five years, and I would have never thought that we would ever become state champions,” Martinsville Middle eighth-grader Karlee Shively said in a release from the school district. “After all of the hard work, time, and determination our whole team has given this season, it feels absolutely amazing to have come this far. I can’t wait to see what it’s like to compete at a world level.”

Said ninth-grader Nayti Patel: “It was definitely hard with everything being virtual and all, but I’m glad we had coaches who believed in us and helped us.”

Fulcher, MCPS’s STEM and career development coordinator, said “Absolute Zero displayed persistence, perseverance, and determination.”

Youth essay contest

The Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives is sponsoring a “Powerful Careers” contest for schoolchildren of electric cooperative members. Essays will be accepted through Sept. 1 at No mail-ins will be accepted.

Essays should focus on one career opportunity in the energy field and explain what the job is, why it matters and how it relates to the energy business.

Grades 7-9 should submit essays of 500 to 750 words. Grades 10-12 should submit essays of 800-1,000 words. First prize in each age category is a $100 gift card. Second prize is a $50 gift card. Third prize is a $25 gift card. The first-place entries will be printed in the November-December 2021 issue of Cooperative Living magazine.

Rules and requirements are at


  • The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, which serves Martinsville and Henry and Patrick counties, is seeking applications for up to 11 summer interns for 8 weeks, from June through Aug. 13. Interns will receive a stipend of $2,925 paid semi-monthly. Applicants must be a high school graduate with plans to attend college in the fall of 2021, an undergraduate or graduate-level college student or a college graduate who completed a degree within the past 12 months. Applications, which along with other details are available at, are due by 4 p.m. March 22. For more information, email or or call 434-766-6747 or 434-766-6711.
  • Piedmont Arts is accepting applications for the Nicodemus Hufford Memorial Arts Scholarship and the Harold Knowlton Work Memorial Scholarship. Applications are due by 5 p.m. May 3 and are available at the museum and, under the Education tab. For questions, contact Education Coordinator Sarah Short at

— Bulletin Staff Reports

Steven Doyle is editor of the Martinsville Bulletin and the Danville Register & Bee. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, ext. 245. 

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