I was born in Worcester, and have lived here every year since. One day in June 2016, me and my friend Will were canoeing in Flax Pond, and we were like “Hey, Cliff Pond should be right over that hill. Let’s find a path between the ponds and carry our canoe there!” We weren’t wearing any shoes, mind you, but this was one of the most fun adventures I’ve had.
I play the cello.
In the summer of 2015 I went to Camp Howe in Goshen, and it was there I decided to stop homeschooling and go to school. Camp how was the first experience of being around kids my age all day long, and I actually liked it.
I have done robotics, STEM and computer science before I came to Mass Academy. I was homeschooled through 9th grade,
and I have participated in robotics for 6 years. I have had two successful robotics teams in my house.
The first was my First Lego League team, from when I was 8 to when I was 12. Then in 8th grade my vex team The Dreaming Robot was the New England champion,
and I participated in the Vex World competition, making it to the quarterfinals. I am now on Mass Academy's FRC team, Team 190
I was on a team for all three seasons last year. I ran cross country and track, and played tennis
I can juggle, walk a tightrope, mountain bike, as well as mountain unicycle. I first started unicycling in spring 2016,
and I’ve been unicycling on harder and harder terrain ever since. One of my favorite winter activities is unicycling in the snow and ice, because it helps me improve my balance. I set up a short tightrope in my back yard with two trees
and some rock climbing rope. Oops, forgot to mention I love rock climbing too.
Fun fact! I am the only Mass Academy student who bicycles to school every day. I go at 18-19 miles per hour, and it takes
only 6-10 minutes, making my commute to school the most exciting, most dangerous, fastest and healthiest.
I am in Intermediate Spanish Immersion class, where we do our best to only speak in Spanish in class. We watch Spanish TV, play games in Spanish, and built a model car out of instructions written in Spanish. Everyone in our class gave a presentation on a Hispanic artist, and mine was about Salvador Dali. Unlike most of my class, I did not use a script during my presentation, and managed to perform well.
In Spanish class I also wrote an essay on a house. As per the assignment, I simply listed all the features of the house and its immediate surroundings. Because we have a few students who have never taken Spanish before, our first essay was quite simple. However, as the year progressed the skill levels in our class have evened out, so that now we can write more complex essays.
In computer science we are split into two groups, advanced track and standard track. I am in advanced track, which means that my assignment for the first two quarters was to create a software application that solves a problem. The problem I chose was giving FRC and VRC robotics competition teams more information to make better strategic decisions using statistics gathered from a year’s worth of tournament performance information. The program takes inputs in the form of csv files available online and creates a data structure from them, and calculates statistics on every team in the league based on that information.
Instead of taking one class for history and one class for English, at Mass Academy we have one class for both. Mr. Ludt, (pronounced like lute) quite a character, is our teacher. To start off the year in HUM class, we broke into teams of 4 and wrote, rehearsed, and performed skits based on our summer reading, Walden by Henry David Thoreau. In our skit we threw Thoreau forward in time through a portal in the bottom of Walden pond to the present, and had him encounter the modern day tourist, student, and Walden pond tour guide. Dismayed with the state of the world, he decides to dive back through the bottom of Walden pond at the risk of his own life. After he almost drowns and is saved by a scuba diver, he lives as a hobo on Walden pond once more, in the present. I played the character of Thoreau, and it was one of the best, and only, acting experiences of my life. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did acting it!
We write eight essays over the course of the year, for which we are graded very harshly and we rewrite frequently. Over the course of the year our teacher, Mr. Ludt, gives us lots of feedback and expects us to improve all aspects of our writing throughout the year. When we have the same mistakes in multiple essays in a row, he gives us worse grades for each one until we improve. My favorite essay so far is my essay on love in ancient Egypt. In this essay, I compare the authors of love poems discovered in a well near the valley of the pharos in Egypt to modern love, and found that they were very similar. It is quite uplifting for me to know that love has changed so little over that much time.
The first semester of math is mathematical modeling, which includes the 36 hour math modeling competition HiMCM. We use any math tools we know to optimize problems with numerous variables and degrees of freedom. In the second semester most students learn Precalc, but have the option to take more accelerated course that covers calculus through calc 4. Since I completed AP Calculus BC in 10th grade, I plan to take the accelerated course. In the HiMCM competition, students work in teams of 3 or 4 to solve one of two problems. This year the challenge my team chose was to assign ideal wave sizes for a triathlon. We decided that flow rate through the transition points was the most important aspect to minimize, so we came up with an equation for the flow rate through each transition point using the expected normal distribution of athletes from each wave arriving at that transition point. This was the largest equation I have ever used, and looked like Another interesting challenge we had was designing bus routes for an imaginary high school in a town with perfectly gridded streets. The problem was intentionally worded very vaguely, and my team used that to our advantage to design the quickest and most cost efficient bus plan in the school, at the expense of adding 50% onto the students’ distance from their bus stops. In addition to this we designed a layout where all students had to walk shorter distances, but this solution was ordinary and had no advantages over any other solution. I learned from this project that without good communication between the employer (problem), and worker (us), we were free to undermine the purpose of the bus program.
Our STEM class is broken up into two sections, STEM 1 and STEM 2. STEM 1 is an independent science fair project from the beginning of school to February. At MAMS we take our science fair very seriously, and we treat our STEM fair project like a masters’ degree thesis in many ways. We write 45+ page research papers about our research, which need to meet rigorous standards for professionalism and formality. For my project I am engineering a subtractive display to selectively block glare.At this time I am in the middle of the project, and I have the a presentation I gave at the start of the project to introduce my project to my advising teacher.
STEM 2 is a real-life engineering project to design assistive technology for disabled people at the Seven Hills center. The Seven Hills center for Rehabilitation asks its clients about any novel assistive technology that they might need, and relay a list of these ideas to us. We are then assigned to teams of 3 or 4, and each team receives one of the project ideas. Once we build the assistive technology, we give it back to the Seven Hills user, who may actually use the technology we create for years. This project is very special in that it solves an immediate need, and actually helps someone in their everyday life. My experience with group engineering projects in robotics will come in very handy in STEM 2.
Unlike most schools, we have an entire class devoted to scientific and technical writing. We have written two major works this year, a mock grant proposal and a13 page literature review for our STEM fair project. The mock grant proposals are sent to a contest by Engineer Girl, an organization that gives out small cash prizes for promising proposals. My proposal was about a device I thought of to protect the endangered Cross River Gorilla from poaching. In addition to providing valuable protection to my target species, I used an experimental technology to make my devices friendly to the environment as a whole. These biologically powered motion activated cameras looked very practical and thought though, which contributed to my proposal’s success as one of the few distinguished proposals in our school. This literature review is our recapitulation of two months of research on all the science and innovation leading up to the STEM project. My literature review covers the eclectic topics of my STEM project in over 10 separate headings and subheadings. In the topics I covered from LCD technology to traffic safety statistics, the number of deaths each year caused by glare was the hardest to track down. Although some scientific and popular articles cover this topic, the scientific articles have very narrow scopes, and the popular articles lack evidence. This field of study is small enough that there are no accepted facts, only a few individual studies with very different methodologies that test different things.
Physics is my favorite class here at MAMS. We cover topics on the AP physics 1 exam, in addition to a few other topics that appear on the SAT and AP Physics 2 exams. We also have two tracks in our physics class, algebra and calculus, and I am in the calculus track. We often solve very difficult laboratory problems, such as analyzing the forces within a slinky, and multi-step problems called Uber problems at the end of every unit. The Uber problem uses every equation and technique we have learned in the unit, and Mr. Ellis won’t accept it unless every step is correct. One Uber problem I am proud of is the Jabberwocky problem, where you have to calculate the distance that a cart is flung off a heavy table by a chain. I solved this problem during one class period, which is a record speed for this problem.
The slinky lab was my first calculus lab, and it required us to derive an equation to model a hanging slinky. This was easily the hardest lab I’ve ever done, and the day it was due none of the 9 of us who did the lab had found the right equations.