WHS academic teams follow their paths to success


Olivia Yang

Science team secures fourth place at WSSL meet.

Sonya Kozinsky, Staff Writer

  At WHS, numerous STEM-related organizations and teams have achieved success this year and still have a lot of events planned for the future. 

   The WHS Math Team advisors,  WHS math teachers Bailey Fidler and  Erin Lordan, the Math Team has mentored the students through a particularly successful year and multiple tournaments.

   “Our team has had a remarkable year in the Massachusetts Mathematics League (MML). We ended the season in first place in Massachusetts for medium-sized high schools, scoring 628 points,” said Fidler. “Including even large schools, our team placed 6th overall.”

   However, the school year isn’t over yet, and there are still some tournaments to come for the Math Team.

   “Moving forward, we will be competing at the State Championships through MAML on March 30 at Shrewsbury High School. We also plan to submit several entries to the Purple Comet Math Competition, which happens in late April,” said Fidler. 

   Freshman Pamela Hao enjoys both the academic challenges of the competitions along with some less educational elements of being part of the team.

   “The meetings involve a lot of practicing and working on competitions, and people can learn a lot from that. It’s very different from taking math courses at school,” said Hao. “I think that it’s not really one of the main goals of the club, but you can definitely meet people, especially from other grades, and from other schools at meets.”

   Aside from the Math Team, the Robotics Team, also known as the GNCE (Galactic Narwhal Chicken Effect), has had a productive year as well. WHS physics and engineering teacher Steve Boardman (who also works at WMS) is the official school advisor, who works with Cary Gumbert, the primary coach to support the program. Like the Math Team, the robotics team has found success  in its many tournaments, largely due to a student-driven resurgence of a program that almost ceased to exist in Weston.

   “I think it’s impressive how the students have restarted and grown the program from the original eight founders to over 50 students on 3 WMS and 2 WHS teams after the school robotics clubs shut down during the pandemic,” said Gumbert.

   The GNCE will also be participating in future tournaments, including the World Championships, and also will compete in various invitational contests during the summer. Furthermore, in their ongoing efforts to expand the team, they will collaborate with another WHS club.

   “Over the summer, GNCE and Girl Up are mentoring a robotics summer camp for WMS students focused on increasing gender diversity [in the team],” said Gumbert. “They will also be recruiting to add 1-2 additional HS FTC [FIRST Tech challenge] teams at the start of the school year.”

   Junior Ellie Tillman-Schwartz was selected at the MA State Championships as the top individual competitor to represent MA at the World Championships, and is also part of the BioBuilders club (co-president), Bio Olympiad (president), and the Science olympiad team, demonstrating her dedication to STEM clubs and opportunities for competition. 

   “I’m motivated to be successful in robotics by seeing the impact our successes have had on the community,” said Tillman-Schwartz. “Every accomplishment or goal we reach provides us with a stronger platform to spread the spark for STEAM [similar to STEM] within Weston. Traveling to competitions, meeting new teams, and seeing the impact robotics has had on students across the world has only motivated me to continue working towards the growth of robotics in Weston and beyond.”

   The Cybersecurity team has also accomplished a great deal this year, despite not being a well-known club at school. Digital media literacy teacher Michael Sanford advises the club and is proud of the accomplishments the group has achieved.

   “The CyberSecurity Club put forth a team that competed in the CyberPatriot competition. They placed in the top 5% nationally and made it to the semifinals,” said Sanford. The team had also made it to the platinum tier of Cyberpatriot and were able to place in the top 200 teams in the country.

   The club has some potential plans for the end of the year, and preparations are in place for next year, including adding new members.

   “I would like to start identifying leadership roles that can be shared by members,” Sanford said. “Additionally, I want to solicit input from members on what are the goals of the club,) how do we achieve them, and  how do we promote the goals and agenda to attract other students interested in CyberSecurity.”

   WHS junior Nicholas Dai has particularly appreciated the collaborative nature of the club.

   “My favorite part about the clubs is that everyone can teach others anything since Cybersecurity is such a big range of specialties and varieties,” said Dai. 

   While not every student will be drawn to participating in STEM-related clubs and teams, the range of opportunities these groups offer and the success they have had are making them some of the most popular places to spend Activity Block.