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SECME students advance to nationals
In their first SECME competition, three Langston Chapel Middle School sixth-graders, from left, Ethan Harrison, S'nya Brewton and CJ Simmons, won first-place team in the Middle School Division.

      The SECME teams at Statesboro High School and Langston Chapel Middle School will vie for national titles later this month during the 38th Annual National SECME Student Competition. The teams won first place in their regional events in Savannah on April 19. They will compete against other winning elementary middle and high school teams from across the United States June 25–28 at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
         The SHS VEX Robotic Team consisting of Michael Carter, Jordan McCombs and Paul Scarpinato placed first at regionals. The team also placed second in both the Water Bottle Rocket and Mousetrap Car events. Other team members were Austin Lasota and SungJoon Won.
         This is the sixth consecutive year that the SHS team has advanced to nationals in these events. At each of those national competitions, the teams have finished in the top five and have won the national championship in the Water Bottle Rocket competition three times in the past five years. The team returns to nationals this year as the 2013 defending champion. At last year’s SECME Student Competition, Richard McCombs, a science teacher at SHS who serves as the high school teams’ advisor, was named the SECME National Teacher of the Year.
         McCombs is working with LCMS QUEST teacher Patti Ward to develop a middle school SECME team at her school. It is currently the only middle school SECME team in Bulloch County. In their very first SECME competition, three LCMS sixth-graders, S'nya Brewton, Ethan Harrison and CJ Simmons, won first-place team in the Middle School Division.
         SECME was founded in 1975 by the engineering deans from seven southeastern universities: Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Tennessee, Tennessee State and Tuskegee. It is a nonprofit alliance that extends to 40 school systems, 39 major engineering universities and industries and agencies in 15 states, the District of Columbia and the Grand Bahamas.  SECME's mission is to increase the pool of historically underrepresented and underserved students who will be prepared to enter and complete postsecondary studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, thus creating a diverse and globally competitive workforce. SECME provides teacher professional development and coordinates student competitions across the country. Its national headquarters is housed on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

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