Seton has a Sea Perch club run by Mr. Dan Maher and Mr. Mark Hoffman (who also runs the VEX Robotic club too for the high school). John Paul joined a team with his friend Drew and they asked a fellow Holy Trinity homeschooler, Alex, if he wanted to join them. Their club started in October building their ROV (remote operational vehicle) and held a competition in January for the junior high school.
At the competition, they make a poster presentation, do an obstacle course, and a finesse course; all of which are scored to determine the winner. Two Seton junior high teams won for the regional competition and qualified for Nationals: The Sea Chickens (John Paul’s team) and Contrivance (Anna and Mary’s team).
Later in the year, the high school teams had their competition in which 6 Seton teams out of 8 qualified for Nationals! My nephew Tommy’s team was one of them. Due to schedule conflicts, only three teams went on to UMASS-Dartmouth for the National competition.
The JHS/HS awards were held the night before, so John Paul and I went by ourselves while Dan packed up the car. We left with the whole family at 5:40 AM. Our plan was to stop for Mass at Holy Spirit in Delaware and then drop the gang off with my Mom and then drop Dan and John Paul off at UMASS-Dartmouth (which without traffic is about 2 1/4 hours from my folks). We pulled into UMASS-Dartmouth at 3:40… at the same time as Tommy’s team!
The teams had to receive maps, instructions, and dorm assignments; have a photo taken of themselves and their ROV; have their ship pass compliance instructions and receive a form verifying compliance. Then they set up their poster and items at their assigned table.
Here is their set-up! Their poster, a model of their first ship, their current ship, and a dynamometer with an explanation sheet.
Tommy’s team is finished with their set-up too! (Brian, Paul, Tommy and Michael)
I wish I took pictures of the other Seton teams’ posters! But I was anxious to get back to CT, and help get the kids to sleep. The guys went to dinner and then practiced their presentation just in case their poster got selected. They had a movie at night, and Mr. Grimberg hosted the rosary at 10 am in their quad.
Sadly the next morning, I missed seeing the other junior high team compete. They had a 10 am time slot. I didn’t leave CT until just before 9 am. But I came in time to see The Sea Chickens compete at 11:20. They had just found out that their poster ranked FIRST in the junior high! The top 8 poster teams then have to do a poster presentation; their time slot was 12:40. Another Seton team (Gold Fish) had a poster ranked #6 in the high school.
Back in the pool, The Sea Chickens are ready for the obstacle. The spectators watch in the bleachers above deck and there are at least ten teams at each pool competing in either obstacle or finesse. Drew and Alex are getting ready for obstacle. Only 2 players from each team can be on deck.
The obstacle was a series of 22 inch diameter hoops angled in different directions. The driver had to maneuver through the hoops, emerge in the center area of the pool, and then go back through the obstacle exactly the way he went through so that he didn’t get his tether stuck. Each team got two tries. Attempt #1 was 1:30 because Drew’s tether got stuck. The second was 53 seconds. And then the judge let him do a third for fun and he got 46. It was a little bit of salt in the wound!!
Here’s Drew hitting the wall on the last try.
After finishing the obstacle, the Sea Chickens found out their poster presentation time and hustled off to lunch with the other junior high team Contrivance. They both were on the clock for their next activity was at 12:40. (Again, I missed seeing Contrivance! The only team that I didn’t get to watch. Sniff).
They had to go to a different building for the presentation in front of a panel of 5 judges. Here they are practicing:
We then went back to the pool to watch some of the other Seton teams do their races. Brian and Michael are doing finesse for 3D in the next two pictures. (The rules for all the competitions are here). Finesse involves three challenges. Moving several gray pieces on 5 rung ladder to the opposite side. The Pipes involved picking up pipes by the loop top and putting them in either a small, medium, or large hole. The smallest holes were worth the most points. The final was The Targets. They had to poke the tip of the ship into holes so that a flag popped up. Finesse was very hard.
Then Jessie and Bryanna’s team was up. Here’s a snap shot of the fans:
Jessie and Bryanna switched in the middle of finesse. Jessie drove for the Ladder and the Pipes…
And Bryanna drove for Targets.
Here’s a shot of one side of the gym.
Another shot of more posters… you can see Team Trident leaving for their next event.
Trident team members and fans in the bleacher section…
while Siena and Andrew got ready below for the Obstacle.
Next up were Tommy and Paul for 3D’s Obstacle competition.
Then we hustled back over to finesse for John Paul and Drew’s last event.
Drew tackled ladder first…
Then he went all the way to Targets..
He was VERY focused.
Then he saved Pipes for last and killed it!!!
They found out that they got all 25 points and a time of 5:30.19 They are excited!!
There is no listing anywhere of what times and scores people have already done, but Mr. Hoffman is confident that this is a pretty good score compared to what he has seen!
The last Seton team event was Gold Fish doing the obstacle. This time it is Jessie and Maria tackling the event.
Some teams then departed for vigil Masses, and some of us just took a quick nap before the awards started at 6 pm. We took advantage of getting a photo op with the team. :)
The awards began with two speakers and some acknowledgements. There were over 24 trophies on the table for the High School, Middle School and Open Class divisions, but they started with four awards that the judges made to acknowledge some unique features in the teams. I can’t remember all of the awards – two had to do with creativity, one had to do with surviving hardships, and… the fourth??
Anyway, the announcer started announcing the first award for creativity. As she described the actions that this particular team, John Paul recognized that she was describing their team, but I was clueless and very surprised when they got called down for the first award.
John Paul was hoping that if they were going to get an award, he could watch what other teams did first. No such luck!
They announced various other awards, and the guys were nervous when they didn’t place in the Poster category after getting first in the poster itself. (The Poster award includes their presentation). As it turns out they placed fifth.
They ended up placing seventh in Obstacle (we didn’t find that out until we came home), but were very excited to go down and receive third place in Finesse!
At the end, they announce the overall awards which compiles all the scores. We don’t know how they finished in the Obstacle or Presentation, so the boys were pretty psyched to hear their names called to win Second Overall. (Which oddly enough there is no trophy for… and Dan went down to take their pictures…but forgot to turn the camera on). So here’s the bleacher photo-op of the Second Place Middle School Team (and John Paul always adds)… in the Nation. ;)
The boys are so grateful to Mr. Maher and Mr. Hoffman who helped them! They were great mentors. Mr. Maher was home with his newborn, but Mr. Hoffman was in the bleachers for all of the events and kept tabs on how other teams were doing to try to give the kids a sense of how it all was going. We were able to get a picture of him with them and all their awards. :)
Then it was time to EAT! But we gathered the whole Seton group to get a picture. John Paul kept blocking Jessie, so I think I took ten shots before I finally got two that were close. :)
The Sea Perch committee had food, DJ and various activities set up for the kids. We stayed until 9 pm and then drove back to CT.
FYI — John Paul said that the bouncy obstacle course pictured here below was really fun.