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Goddard takes top awards in MESA competition

Pictured are Claire Seley, left, who won first place for On-Site Engineering; and Hayley Hampton, right, who won third place for On-Site Art Achievement. (Submitted Photo)

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Despite a school year filled with remote learning and canceled activities, students at Goddard High School were still able to participate virtually in the 33rd annual state-wide MESA Day Competition. MESA is a program that focuses on Mathematics, Engineering, Science and Achievement. The annual MESA Day Competition is the culminating event of the year that allows students to demonstrate their skills in response to nine engineering design challenges. Individual awards are presented to teams placed first through sixth in each of the design challenges and trophies are presented to the schools that placed first through third overall.

Goddard High School MESA, under the direction of Monica Rodriguez-Hudson, fielded four teams comprised of four members each that competed in this year’s event. Teams consisted of the following students: Jathan Barreto, Damien Betancur, Isabel Bustillos, Eugene Dagsaan, Sadey Evans, Cassie Garcia, Hayley Hampton, Grant Janway, Devin Spicer Lucero, Kaylee Mathews, Justin Olson, Hyacinth Panganiban, Tristan Popek, Soren Rahlf, Yasmeen Romero and Claire Seley.

Two GHS sophomores earned top honors in this year’s competition, which featured the theme: Designing for Equity. Claire Seley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Seley, won first place overall in the state for the On-Site Engineering challenge. She was tasked with designing a social-distancing device to be used in public while promoting equity. In advance of the competition, students were mailed packages containing materials to be used in the challenge. They were not allowed to open them prior to the competition, but instead opened them live on Zoom. Students were then encouraged to explore the mechanics of engineering, drafting and design for the competition while operating with a set time constraint. Seley used the skills she acquired in Goddard’s MESA program, along with her own creativity, to capture first place overall in New Mexico for her design.

Hayley Hampton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dave Hampton, was also a statewide standout with her third place overall win for the On-Site Art Achievement in the MESA Poetry Slam. In this event, students created and presented a unique Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics-themed poem. As in all categories, students were not given the topic until competition day. They then had to work within the time frame to draft, write and present their poem.

While this year presented a unique set of challenges to all participants, the experience was a positive one. Both Seley and Hampton plan to continue in the MESA program as juniors and hope to compete again next year in-person.

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