City elementary school to compete in international aquatic engineering contest

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Maple Street Magnet School student Paul Harriman tinkers with the robot during the testing day. (Courtesy?Rochester Public Schools)

ROCHESTER -- Fourth- and fifth-grade students at Maple Street Magnet School have been selected to compete in the 2021 International SeaPerch Challenge.

The competition, which will take place virtually June 4-5, consists of interviews and an engineering design report where students document the experience of building their SeaPerch ROV, an underwater robot used to pick up garbage in rivers and collect water data.

As part of the SeaPerch competition, students have to learn engineering and scientific terms as well as understand real-world applications for their robot. Teachers Danielle Devoid, Ginny Farkas and Indra Edmonds as well as Principal Erin Mahoney assisted in this unique learning experience. In order to create an authentic environment for hands-on learning, staff were aided by Tara Hicks and Claes Thelemarck, two science specialists from the University of New Hampshire, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and fifth-grade parent Craig Lauder.

"We are incredibly proud of our students and staff for participating in this program and qualifying for the international competition," said Superintendent Kyle Repucci. "Not only does this type of experiential learning encourage future career paths and spark students' interest in the real-world applications of their learning, it also has potential benefits for the Rochester community."

In the past, students have worked with the UNH Cooperative Extension Program to assist with the Rochester River Walk and Citizen Science projects. With SeaPerch, students will be using their ROV to help clean up the Cocheco River in Rochester while collecting data on both water quality and river life.

"This program has been exciting for our students and shown how they can make an impact in their own community," said Mahoney. "We'd like to extend thanks to the UNH Cooperative Extension Program, multiple staff, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and parents for their support in making this possible."

About the 2021 International SeaPerch Challenge
Teams of students will compete with peers from the United States, Puerto Rico, China, Qatar and New Zealand. Students will go through the interview process with judges on May 27, while the virtual event will begin June 4.

At the event, students will take part in workshops, listen to accomplished guest speakers and engage with other students in breakout sessions. Educators will also take part in the conference, attending engagement activities and educational sessions.

For those interested in attending the event, tickets cost $10 and can be found on the SeaPerch website. Anyone interested, including family members and curious students or individuals, can purchase a ticket.

To learn more about the 2021 International SeaPerch Challenge, you can visit

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