Updated February 22 at 12:27am

Bay View Academy robotics team heading to next competition round

Bay View Academy’s “St. Mary Academy Robotics Team,” also known as S.M.A.R. T., is heading to the state robotics championship.

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Bay View Academy robotics team heading to next competition round

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EAST PROVIDENCE – Bay View Academy’s “St. Mary Academy Robotics Team,” also known as S.M.A.R. T., is heading to the state robotics championship.

S.M.A.R.T. participated in the First Lego League Qualifier Tournament at the Gordon School on Dec. 6, competing against 20 predominantly male teams.

Bay View, which had the only all-girl team in the competition, secured its spot at the First Lego League R.I. State Championship, which will be held Jan. 17 at Roger Williams University.

Besides qualifying for the state championship, the team also won first place for its research project and presentation.

The girls, all seventh- and eighth-graders, presented a skit to the judges about learning how to tell time on an analog clock. They “invented” a new clock that had the hour and minute hands light up, making it easier to learn how to tell time. They included a parody song “Now They Know” (how to tell time), to the tune of “Let it Go” from “Frozen.”

The team also received high scores from judges for their robot design and for demonstrating teamwork.

Robotics is offered in Bay View’s Middle School as part of the curriculum. Students meet during and after school to prepare for the First Lego League R.I. competition.

The team members are: Elizabeth Cooney, of Rehoboth, Mass.; Isabella DeNuccio, East Greenwich; Kinzie Fairman, East Providence; Sophia Javid, Coventry; Elizabeth Killian, East Providence; Emilie Lum; Brooke Nyman, North Attleboro, Mass.; Christina O'Brien, Providence; Giovanna Sgalia, Hopedale, Mass.; and Abigail Swift, Westport, Mass.

St. Mary Academy - Bay View’s President Vittoria Pacifico-DeBenedictis said everyone at the school, which is an independent Catholic school, is “incredibly proud” of its strong robotics program, and the girls’ success at the competition.

“It is exhilarating to demonstrate to the broader community that Bay View is a school where girls are encouraged and excited to pursue science and technology, both within the classroom curriculum and through extracurricular programs,” she wrote in an email.

She cited a recent study published by the National Coalition of Girls' School, called “Steeped in Learning: The Student Experience at All-Girls Schools” that reported that girls educated at all-girls schools are “more likely to engage actively in the learning process than peers at coeducational independent and public schools” and are “more likely than girls at coeducational public schools to engage in activities that prepare them for the rigors of the real world.”

“We feel the fact that Bay View has a strong all-girls team participating in the First Lego League competition speaks directly to these findings and we are proud to provide this type of empowering all-girls education to students from three years old through grade 12,” Pacifico-DeBenedictis said.

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