School Notes: MoCo Students for Change Kicking Off New Year With Expanded Focus

School Notes: MoCo Students for Change Kicking Off New Year With Expanded Focus

Plus: Robotics team wins internationally

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Michael Solomon speaks on Capitol Hill last Spring.

Bethesda Beat file photo by Bethany Rodgers

A group of student activists is expanding its focus this coming school year, and holding a kickoff event this week to tell the public about it.

MoCo Students for Change, a group that formed in February after a fatal shooting at a Florida high school and which gained national attention for a rally on Capitol Hill, will still focus on reducing gun violence in the coming school year, but students will also focus on segregation in county schools and on voter registration, said Michael Solomon, a junior at Springbrook High School, and president of the organization.

A four-week voter registration drive is expected to run from Sept. 17 to Oct. 12.

Later in the school year, students will advocate for countywide redistricting to better integrate schools. Solomon said a group of students has been studying the issue of de facto segregation all summer. A number of schools in the county are very close to each other, but very, very different in terms of their demographics, Solomon said.

The shifts come as students recognized the power of their voices and the capacity for affecting change on a local level, Solomon said.

“We’ve noticed how powerful we are as an organization,” Solomon said.

Advocating for changes to reduce gun violence is still on the agenda. Early this school year, the organization will set up a traveling T-shirt display, which features the names of hundreds of teenagers killed by gun violence over the past year. The display, an ongoing project, will be set up at every county high school where it hasn’t been so far, Solomon said.

Friday’s kickoff event will be held at the Carver Educational Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville, from 7 to 9 p.m. More information is on Facebook. The event will feature student performances and student artwork for purchase.

County students represent USA in global robotics competition 

Montgomery County students powered a robot, G-Wiz, to win all eight of its matches during a four-day competition in Mexico City earlier this month.

The FIRST Global Challenge was held Aug. 15-18 in Mexico City.

The Wizards.exe team, based in Rockville, was chosen to represent the United States in the international competition. The team came away with the FIRST Global Challenge Silver Medal and the Gold Medal for the Zheng Hang Award for Engineering Design.

The robotics team consists of 11 students, five boys and six girls aged 13 to 18.

The group’s mission is to “Engage, Xpand, and Educate (EXE) our community.”

In June, Montgomery County Council member Craig Rice honored the local team with a proclamation after the students won the FIRST Tech Challenge Championship Inspire Award at the Detroit World Championship, recognizing excellence in robotic design, engineering and outreach to the community. After winning the award at the Detroit competition, Wizards.exe was selected to represent the United States in Mexico.

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