High school students stay up all night for robotics, cybersecurity, and video game contests

Cheverus High School students Hayden Harkett (second from right) and Brody Gifford (right) discuss League of Legends, the first event of the All Night Thomas Cup in Waterville on Friday. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — About 90 high school students from across the state stayed up all night Friday to prepare for the annual competition, which involves a series of challenges ranging from overnight video game sessions to crime scene analysis.

The Thomas Cup is an annual event hosted by Thomas University where teams of high school students compete against each other in a marathon of 13-hour challenges. The event is unique in that it takes place over one night and introduces students to fields and careers they may not have known about otherwise, said organizer Michael Duguay.

“These are activities that students typically don’t have the opportunity to compete in,” he said. “It’s rare to have a venue like this about computer science, robotics, etc.It seems pretty tough, over 12 hours, but it was a lot of fun.It’s a lot of fun.”

High school students react while playing League of Legends at the first annual Thomas Cup event in Waterville on Friday. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

This year’s competition areas include robotics, cybersecurity, rocket science, and a League of Legends tournament hosted by Thomas College’s esports team. This year, 18 teams participated, with just over 90 students from Bucksport, Dexter, Skowhegan and more, according to program coordinator Kelly Smart.

Team “Spa Hanks” will unveil their trophy as this year’s Thomas Cup winners on Saturday at Thomas College in Waterville. Members include Cheverus and Greeley students Brody Gifford, Corbin Richter, Andrew Flanders, Hayden Harkett and Alexander Wharton, who will each receive a $10,000 scholarship to Thomas College. Become. thomas university

Rather than having teams specialize in a particular area, Smart said the team is structured around a point system that requires students to excel in each task.

“There’s a score sheet, and you get so many points for figuring out how to program a robot or completing a crime scene challenge,” Smart said. “Teams must perform well in all sports, not just one or two.”

This year’s winning team was comprised of students from Cheverus High School and Greeley High School in Cumberland County. The team, known as the “Spa Hanks,” consisted of Brody Gifford, Corbin Richter, Andrew Flanders, Hayden Halkett, and Alexander Wharton.

The team from Dexter Regional High School took second place and the team from Forest Hills Regional High School took third place.

Members of the winning team will receive $10,000 scholarships while second and third place teams will receive $8,000 and $6,000 scholarships, respectively, if they attend Thomas University.

The Spa Hanks, a team made up of Cheverus and Greeley high school students, gathered Friday before the annual Thomas Cup, hosted by Thomas College in Waterville. In this event, teams of high school students compete against each other in his 13-hour challenge marathon. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

This is the ninth time the Thomas Cup has been held, but the challenges faced by students change each year. One year students might have to design a carbon-neutral house, the next year they might have to build a working model rocket from scratch.

Duguay said organizers are paying special attention to creating immersive and engaging challenges with the ultimate goal of getting students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. .

Duguay was heavily involved in the development of this year’s Crime Scene Analysis Challenge, which he said is primarily based on real-life events filmed on the NBC show “Dateline.” The ever-evolving nature of the Thomas Cup and its challenges make it just as much fun for organizers and students alike, Duguay said.

“This year it’s kind of a murder-for-hire concept, and there’s a really unique twist on the theme that we tackled,” he said Friday. “We shot two different crime scenes and combined them. It was really fun to make.

“You can see how much effort we’ve put in,” he added with a laugh.

The contest also includes a three-hour video game tournament where students compete against each other in the popular game “League of Legends.”

Owen Vining, head of Thomas College’s esports team, said Friday that the tournament has become an important part of the college’s recruiting process and a favorite part of the Thomas Cup for many high school students. Ta. Some students brought specially made computers to play with at the event, many of which were decorated with flashing LED lights and animated stickers.

“We’ve been doing League (of Legends) tournaments for the last few years,” Vining said. “A lot of kids get excited, which is understandable because it’s a fun game.”

Although this year’s contest started late and ended early due to internet troubles on Thomas’ campus, Duguay said it was one of the most well-attended competitions in recent years.

“For the past few years, we’ve had about 80 or 90 children born each year,” he says. “I can’t say it’s grown as much as this event is doing well. I prefer it that way.”

High school students will play League of Legends Friday at the Thomas Cup, an annual technology and innovation competition held at Thomas College in Waterville. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

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