A two-day camp designed to give students in the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District the chance to hone their digital-technology skills is set for Wednesday and Thursday, March 12-13, at the Ramsey County Library-Maplewood.

The Teen Tech Camp is free to students in grades 6-12, and coincides with spring break.

According to a school district news release, students will design and print objects using a 3-D printer, build apps for iPads, create computer games and shoot and edit movies.

The library system and the district have teamed before to promote digital literacy for disadvantaged youth. A summer version of Teen Tech Camp was recognized in 2013 as one of the nation's top innovative teen programs by the Young Adult Library Services Association.

The school district, which serves students in Washington and Ramsey counties, sponsors the camps through its Educational Equity Alliance, an initiative designed to help close the achievement gap between white and minority students.

The camp will run from 1 to 5 p.m. both days. Registration is required. To register, send an e-mail to kjaszewski@isd622.org or call 651-748-7546.

Cottage Grove

Park speech team captures invitational

The speech team at Park High in Cottage Grove finished first for a second consecutive year at the Princeton Tigerhead Invitational tournament in Princeton last month.

Twenty-two teams competed in the Feb. 22 event, according to a South Washington County School District news release. The meet was one of at least eight invitational speech tournaments held in Minnesota in February, according to the speechmeet.com website.

Park also had four students capture first-place honors in individual or duo categories. They were Molly Moran in the humorous category, Mary Babinski for great speeches and Ethan Berube and Leah Haliburton as a duo. Another Park duo, Henry Gibney and Ben Jemie, finished second.


Local teams snare Lego tourney honors

The Penguins, a group of students from Mahtomedi Middle School, won the "teamwork award" at a state championship for robot-building enthusiasts last month.

The team was one of six from Washington County to participate in the FIRST Lego League event at Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul.

The competition requires students to design, build and program Lego robots to execute specific missions, and drew more than 60 teams from across the state. Teams advanced to the state championship after regional play in December and January.

Awards were presented in a number of categories, with the ultimate honor being the "champion's award," which qualified the winner for a trip to Toronto for the FIRST Lego League International Open in June.

Two Washington County teams — the Brick Bombers of Woodbury and the Afton-Lakeland Avalanche — were among the seven finalists for the champion's award, won by the team, Height Differential, of Shoreview.

The Brick Bombers, a group of friends with no specific school affiliation, captured second-place honors in both the research and robot performance categories. The Afton-Lakeland Avalanche, based at Afton-Lakeland Elementary in Lakeland, was one of four teams to capture a "judges' award," described in the tournament materials as a "free-form award selected by the judges to recognize significant team accomplishments that may not fit other categories."

The Lego program is in its 16th year and has grown from 11 schools in 1999 to more than 500 teams this year.

Anthony Lonetree