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Three teams participated in this year's competition.

General Dynamics Holds STEM Competition

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — High school teams participating in the General Dynamics STEM Competition demonstrated their designs for a zipline mail delivery system on Friday, May 12. 
 
A Hoosac Valley team took second place and a PHS team took third. 
 
The students had 5 weeks to put together a mail carrier that rides along ziplines that can deliver packages to predetermined destinations. 
 
"We tasked them this year with delivering an autonomous zipline delivery system. So we're super excited to be able to use the YMCA and the big open new gym that they have to watch how these kids are using this project and taking the time to innovate a super cool design," High School STEM Competition Lead Hannah Manolis said. 
 
The students' designs are judged by General Dynamic volunteers with a variety of engineering backgrounds. The entire program was coordinated on a volunteer basis having 25 volunteers. 
 
Bringing home first place in the drop competition was Berlin High School with a score of 22 points. 
 
In second place was Hoosac Valley High School with a score of 13 points. In third place was Pittsfield High School who experienced technical difficulties during the drop competition and was only able to demonstrate their design once. 
 
Throughout the program General Dynamics volunteers from both the Pittsfield and other General Dynamics offices mentored the students. 
 
"Even as you advance in your career, it's always great to still have that mentor. I even have mentors after 34 years. So it's a wonderful thing," General Dynamics Director of Engineering for Surface and Strategic Kenneth McInerney said. 
 
Although only three out of the eight schools were able to attend the competition due to illness and scheduling issues, the General Dynamics team works with the schools throughout the year to provide mentorship and guidance. 
 
"So it's not just, show up for this competition. There's a lot of time and so even the teams that were not able to make it tonight, got that benefit of having that exposure all year," General Dynamics Marketing and Public Relations Darci Hess said. 
 
The General Dynamics program strengthens skills that students will need in their future career whether it is in the Science, Technology, Engineering, And Math field or not, McInerney said. 
 
"Having been here for 34 years now, with General Dynamics, it's very important with our partnerships with the community to start building this STEM mindset early on, and tapping that potential in our students. So they can go explore what they want to do," McInerney said. 
 
"I think it's very important to do creative thinking, very important to build that science and mathematics background. Also, it also has teams involved so you build strong partnerships, which is important as you take it through your life and your career."
 
From an investment perspective they hope that these programs encourage students to work at General Dynamics if they do choose to make a career and home in the Berkshires, McInerney said. 
 
"We are super excited to be here today, to compete in the zipline competition. I think it's so important for students to have these hands-on experiences to really see what the world of engineering is all about," Pittsfield High School computer science Tarah Lucier said. 
 
Throughout the process the students have created fond memories with their peers filled with laughter and learning, Berlin High School, Grade 10, Madison Bell said. 
 
Bell wants to be a mechanical engineer, and this program allowed her to see what that career is like.  
 
The nature of the program allows students to approach STEM differently than they would normally in the classroom
 
"I really enjoyed this experience. I think I learned a lot of skills from it and a lot of these I can use in the real world beyond say college or high school," Hoosac Valley High School, Grade 11, David Scholz said. 
 
"I also think it prepares you a lot for other experiences that you might not get to see in college or high school and that was a lot of fun and I think it's a good thing for people our age to do." 
 
This is the second year of holding the competition in person since the pandemic.
 
Prior to the pandemic, the program had 17 participating schools. During the pandemic, they had online programming which had 3 teams. The first year back after COVID the competition had six teams. 
 

Tags: General Dynamics,   STEM,   

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Pittsfield's Paronto Perfect in Opener

iBerkshires.com Sports
AUGUSTA, Maine -- Pittsfield's Connor Paronto Friday fired a complete-game no-hitter to lead his Babe Ruth 16-year-old All-Star team to a 10-0 win over North Providence in the first game of the New England Regional.
 
Paronto sruck out six and did not allow a walk or a hit. Pittsfield also did not allow an error behind him to secure the perfect game.
 
“Connor was incredibly impressive today,” Pittsfield coach Ben Stohr said. “We had stellar defense, especially at shortstop where Luke Ferguson took away a couple potential infield hits.
 
“Connor finished with 71 pitches. Couldn’t have been any more efficient. Very proud of all of these guys with how they played defense behind him today.”
 
Paronto helped his cause by going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs at the plate.
 
Jackson Almeida and John Mullen also had two hits apiece in an 11-hit attack for Pittsfield.
 
Pittsfield starts pool play at the regional with a 1-0 record. It continues the tournament on Saturday against the hosts, Capital Area of Maine.
 
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