All posts by Josh Seamon

Williston Wildhackers Win National Championship of Girls Go CyberStart 2020!

The Williston Wildhacker team of Abby Dennin ’20, Sophie Gontow Calderon ’21, Anfisa Bodganenko ’21, and Morgan Strange ’20 took home the national title over 268 other teams in the Girls Go CybserStart 2020 competition!

The team’s advisor, Kim Evelti, had this to say:

I am incredibly proud of the team’s ability to work collaboratively AND independently in our first year of such a rigorous and challenging competition. It’s hard to express just how difficult some of these coding challenges were! We also never imagined that we’d be working on the final stage of the competition from all around the globe, but the team found ways to communicate and support one another from a distance. We are just thrilled that we were able to show what a powerhouse Williston coders can be!

Well done team!

About the team and competition:

  • A group of Williston students started a coding club this year with the express purpose of engaging in the GirlsGoCyberStart competition. Sophie Gontow Calderon lead the charge in starting a club, engaged me as an advisor, and built a team to try the three-stage competition. You can find more info here.
  • Everyone who makes it through a certain number of challenges in the “assess” stage (the first stage) is eligible to move on to the “game” stage (#2). At this point, school teams have to complete a certain number of challenges to be invited to compete in nationals. Teams invited to nationals are allowed to nominate four students to participate. Our team was able to qualify and Abby Dennin, Sophie Gontow Calderon, Morgan Strange, and Anfisa Bogdanenko were selected (by points) to represent Williston at Nationals.
  • Nationals took place (virtually) over two days, May 20-21. The students faced a wide variety of coding challenges and collaborated across the globe to solve them.

In the end, by the leaderboard Williston ended up winning the group competition!

US Mathematics Students of the Trimester – Winter 2020

I am excited to announce the Upper School Mathematics Students of the Trimester – Winter 2020!

Each math faculty member was free to choose whichever student of theirs they thought best exemplified what they are looking for in a model mathematics student. The official description of the award is as follows:

“Awarded to students who exemplify the math department’s core values of competence, confidence, and perseverance while helping their peers realize the relevance and importance of an exceptional mathematical education both for its beauty and for its practical application.”

The following students have been recognized as the Upper School Mathematics Students of the Trimester for Winter 2020.

Please join me in congratulating these outstanding mathematics students!

Brie Banas – Brie has been a consistently strong math student throughout the year. She is intelligent, hard working and diligent yet very unassuming. She is always willing to lend her thoughtful insights into the material with her fellow classmates which consistently helps propel our class forward.
Grace Bean – Grace has had an amazing second trimester. Always a class leader in terms of participation, Grace has stretched herself on the most difficult “”ticket to the weekend “” problems. On more than one occasion, she has been the first student to complete these challenge problems. She is quick to infer previously learned concepts into new problems and she shares her thoughts enthusiastically with the classmates. Grace is always ready to learn and grow.
Anfisa Bogdanenko – In our final section on recursion, Anfisa work to create a recursive backtracking algorithm to solve Slitherlink puzzles. She took this challenge precisely because it was not readily apparent how it would work. Throughout, her analysis of the problem was incredibly insightful and ultimately led to a working solution! Very daring and very bold!
Elsa Frankel – Elsa has led the class by entering into many discussions about challenging problems. Her classmates appreciate looking at her work because it is easy to read and clear when following her steps. Finally, when I had to miss a class, I reached out to Elsa to make sure class got started properly. She went beyond expectations by providing a summary of the class discussion- what went well and we should still go over more. She’s thorough and precise in all that she does! She is always willing to help. 
Liz Gluz – Liz has worked hard all year in and out of the classroom. She has gone above trying to just understand the basics. She excelled at seeing all the connections in each lesson and has shown a high level of mastery.
Lauren Goldinger – Academically, Lauren was consistently at or near the top of her class this winter. This success was due to consistent hard work and perseverance when faced with new mathematical challenges. Additionally, Lauren regularly made a positive impact in our classroom though her ability to collaborate productively with anyone during group work sessions. For the reasons above and more I am proud to make Lauren my math student of the trimester.
Adam Johnsrud – Adam is a proactive learner. He goes out of his way to be prepared and lean into challenging material. He is actively kind, naturally makes space for others, and he goes out of his way to ask people how they are doing, and really care about their response. Adam is a model math student and a fantastic all-around human.
Sarah Kimmel – Sarah is a stellar computer scientist! She brings a natural curiosity and joy for learning to class. She’s a positive contributor to the class discourse and challenges herself during homework and project assignments.
Kam LaFountain – Kam has worked so diligently this year in Geometry Essentials. He has been prepared every day, and he seeks me out for help as soon as any information is unclear. He’s always totally on task during class time, and he obviously really wants to learn all the material.
Matt Pimental – Matt has been a great student throughout the year. He is a leader during discussions, even taking over class one day when my throat limited my speaking. He does great work on projects and is always putting forth his best effort.
Hannah Roche – Hannah puts a lot of thought and care into her work both in and out of class. She is always prepared and sets a great example for her classmates.
Tyler Varin – Tyler did a particularly nice job during the second trimester, stepping up as a leader in this class. Tyler was always ready to participate in class discussions and was willing to take risks with challenging material. His trimester minimization project was outstanding.

Past students of the trimester can be found right here: Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019

US Mathematics Students of the Trimester – Fall 2019

I am excited to announce the Upper School Mathematics Students of the Trimester – Fall 2019!

Each math faculty member was free to choose whichever student of theirs they thought best exemplified what they are looking for in a model mathematics student. The official description of the award is as follows:

“Awarded to students who exemplify the math department’s core values of competence, confidence, and perseverance while helping their peers realize the relevance and importance of an exceptional mathematical education both for its beauty and for its practical application.”

The following students have been recognized as the Upper School Mathematics Students of the Trimester for Fall 2019.

Please join me in congratulating these outstanding mathematics students!

Anfisa Bogdanenko – Anfisa is a truly curious student who challenges herself to learn as much as she can. She is able to learn concepts quickly and apply them to new more complex problems. In class, she lends her insights into the material with the rest of her peers to help us constantly move forward.
Julia Borden – Julia is an outstanding math student. Always focused in class, she is determined to do her best in every aspect of learning math. Her diligence as a student has been rewarded with strong test and quiz results throughout the trimester. Julia saved her best work for her trimester one exam. Her near perfect work earned her the highest grade in the class and demonstrated great precision and knowledge. Our class can always count on Julia to ask the most insightful questions. Congratulations, Julia, on an outstanding trimester in Algebra II.
Aidan Bourbonnais – Beyond achieving high marks on assessments, Aidan always came to class with a positive attitude and ready to work. Additionally, Aidan served as a great resource in the classroom by explain concepts to classmates. This reinforced her own understanding while helping boost the understanding of those around her. For these reasons, I am proud to nominate Aidan as my math student of the trimester.
Noah Brooks – Noah was consistently on point in class during the first trimester. He asks great questions to clarify his understanding which helps everyone else in the class. He has a very good understanding of the first trimester material to build on for the rest of the year.
Connor Capshaw – Connor got off to a bit of a slow start with his first quiz in the fall term in Algebra 2 Honors, but then he reacted in exactly the way one would hope. He immediately set up times to meet with me; he carefully reviewed his initial mistakes; and he was careful to prepare diligently for all subsequent tests and quizzes. By the end of the term he was starting to really demonstrate his ability with the subject. Beyond that, Connor is also just a wonderful kid to have in a classroom – polite, friendly, engaged – a true pleasure.
Louisa Coughlin – Louisa has shown a high level of thought and care in her approach to mathematics. She is able to communicate skills and theories with her classmates that are clear and insightful. She has approach class with an excellent mindset that has enabled her to not be afraid to struggle so that she can preform at her best.
Max Graff – Max has shown great intuition for Geometry, thinking through new and challenging concepts. He is always willing to speak up in class to ask questions, share an idea, or help others. He provided great review demonstrations on proofs which really helped the entire group understand the material better.
Sam Haddad – Sam has contributed positively to class discussions. He keeps learning going through answering and asking questions. He knows how to have fun during class and also be serious about his learning. He engages in the activities and applies his learning to more challenging problems.
Felix King – Felix was outstandingly engaged in this class. He understood every lab challenge in terms of the programming tools available. In addition, he explored and used concepts that made his coding both effective and creative.
Will Sawyer – Will exhibited phenomenal work ethic throughout the first trimester. He was not shy about asking questions, and communicated his thoughts/approaches very well when addressing the class and during group work. Will took the initiative to meet for extra help on numerous occasions and always came prepared. The mentality and attitude Will brought to class each day will help him in many other endeavors in and out of the classroom.
Alice Shevchenko – Alice is a tenacious problem solver. She never gives up and makes use of all possible support structures. She works smoothly with others in small groups and is keenly aware of what she knows and what she doesn’t. She has fun with math and that enjoyment is spread to others!
Jack Zhu – Jack’s curiosity drives him to derive all he can can from all of our class activities in AP CSP. He pushes his programming skills consistently rather than relying on what is easy or familiar. He also he maintains cheerful and positive engagement throughout his time with the group.

Past students of the trimester can be found right here: Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019

Suspended Objects in Calculus Class

Click to view the assignment

This just in from Mrs. McCullagh:

Calculus students just turned in their projects for trimester two. Students were asked to design and model the solution for suspending an object of their choice from wherever they want, with the least amount of wire. Some of the interesting designs were for suspending: a Williston sign from the bridge, a jumbotron at the hockey rink, a tire from a tree, a tree in a planter from the roof over the patio at the Reed Campus Center, a North Carolina flag from an airplane, a car from a crane, among others. Students first needed to decide how far apart the hooks should be from which they would hang their object, and how far down they want the object to hang. Based on those dimensions they needed to minimize the amount of wire needed. All their calculations needed to be carefully displayed and they needed to produce a model of their solution.

US Mathematics Students of the Trimester – Spring 2019

I am excited to announce the Upper School Mathematics Students of the Trimester – Spring 2019!

Each math faculty member was free to choose whichever student of theirs they thought best exemplified what they are looking for in a model mathematics student. The official description of the award is as follows:

“Awarded to students who exemplify the math department’s core values of competence, confidence, and perseverance while helping their peers realize the relevance and importance of an exceptional mathematical education both for its beauty and for its practical application.”

The following students have been recognized as the Upper School Mathematics Students of the Trimester for Spring 2019.

Please join me in congratulating these outstanding mathematics students!

Jason Albanese – Jason pushed through some significant challenges this year and ended up not missing a beat on his progression through the class. His deeply humble and genuinely cheerful nature, as well as his deep sense of empathy, make him into a group work driver. He has fun with challenges and adores ushering his peers through complex topics. Even as we faced harder material in the land of Integrals, Jason kept on leaning in, repeatedly proving he is a creative and talented problem solver.
Katherine Borden – Katie has been a very steady and diligent math student all year long. She comes to class always ready to work and to contribute her thoughts and ideas. She learns new material quickly and is able to retain old concepts well. In class, she helps other students understand the concepts better by volunteering to lend her insights into the material.
Caroline DiFiore – Caroline worked hard right through the final project. She was determined to do her best work – getting extra help from me, friends, other teachers, and the math resource center.
Lily Harris – Lily showed initiative, enthusiasm, and drive during her work in AP CSP. Her progress in our final unit on Python was especially impressive! She brings a natural curiosity and interest in programming that will drive her success as she continues to pursue it.
Molly Kinstle – Molly sailed through this course and assembled the many pieces of Java classes and their interaction with ease. She was always engaged and participated thoughtfully at every point. Her understanding of how the topics covered in this course will serve as a solid foundation in future classes.
Jerry Landman – Jerry brought a high level of insight into each class. Whether it was asking a question or volunteering an answer, Jerry challenged his classmates to think about the material at a deeper level.
Na Kyung Lee – Na consistently distinguished herself among the top students in terms of understanding of the material of precalculus. Not only did she perform outstandingly on assessments, but her ability to work collaboratively with other students became more refined as the year has progressed. I am fully confident that Na will take the foundation she has built this year to reach new heights in any mathematical endeavor she will face in the next academic year. For the reasons stated above I am honored to nominate Na as my math student of the trimester for Spring 2019.
Keyu Lu – Keyu is obviously exceptionally talented in mathematics, but she always supplements that natural ability with incredible diligence and perseverance. I so enjoyed working with her one-on-one this year.
Tucker Motyka – Tucker completed a wonderful third trimester with a strong T3 assessment and an outstanding circles test in Geometry. Tucker thrived on the most difficult work of the year by tying previously learned concepts with challenging new material. His work was organized and he was able to articulate how to attack a multifaceted problem during class discussions. He demonstrated poise, confidence and comprehension throughout the trimester as a class leader in discussions and in his written work. Congratulations, Tucker!
Noe Perry-Greene – Noe contributes in so many ways to our geometry discussions. She shows organized work from which she insightfully explains her problem solving method. She is comfortable taking feedback about her approaches and is able to allow organic discussions to take place. She additionally is able to evaluate the methods her peers use and she works towards efficient methods. Finally, Noe is able to mix fun into the classroom that does not detract from the learning process.
Connor Touhey – Connor was an excellent student and classmate throughout the year. His performance on assessments was always strong and he was diligent in homework every night. Connor was thoroughly engaged in class, always paying full attention and processing new material carefully.
Abby Vassallo – Abby is an incredibly hard worker. She puts in so much effort in and out of the classroom, which leads to her success. She is the epitome of hard work pays off.

Past students of the trimester can be found right here: Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019

US Mathematics Students of the Trimester – Winter 2019

I am excited to announce the Upper School Mathematics Students of the Trimester – Winter 2019!

Each math faculty member was free to choose whichever student of theirs they thought best exemplified what they are looking for in a model mathematics student. The official description of the award is as follows:

“Awarded to students who exemplify the math department’s core values of competence, confidence, and perseverance while helping their peers realize the relevance and importance of an exceptional mathematical education both for its beauty and for its practical application.”

The following students have been recognized as the Upper School Mathematics Students of the Trimester for Winter 2019.

Please join me in congratulating these outstanding mathematics students!

Anaya Akpalu – Anaya has had a wonderful second trimester in Algebra II. From the moment we began factoring, Anaya thrived. She easily recognized and mastered a variety of factoring types and she applied her factoring skills with confidence on the most challenging problems. Her class participation is excellent, her focus unwavering and she articulates her thoughts in a positive and constructive manner during group work. Anaya sets high goals for herself as a student and her determination to be her best is contagious. Congratulations, Anaya!
Kira Bixby – Kira is a hard-working student who brings an open mind and willingness to learn to every class. She has consistently performed exceptionally in every type of assessment and actively participates during class activities. I was particularly impressed with the work of Kira’s group on the cereal and town profile projects during the winter trimester, both of which helped to set the bar for the rest of the class. For the reasons above, I am proud to nominate Kira as my math student of the trimester for Winter 2018-19.
Ethan Bradway – Ethan constantly pushed the boundaries of what we covered. Not only did he develop rich solutions to problems but he brought new material (very relevant but not covered in the class) to whatever he was doing. This spilled over into the class and brought new ideas for others to appreciate. Ethan was an excellent contributor to class and more than willing to help classmates on the work.
Rachel Burke – Rachel works hard and makes the class better. She has an unflappably calm demeanor and constantly has fun with math, two things that her peers notice and gravitate towards. She is patient and kind with her peers, and frequently is the first to ask questions in small groups and during full class discussions. She leads small groups well and also has no trouble stepping back and easily supporting those around her. She’s an excellent teacher and student.
Liam Coughlin – Liam is an incredibly hard worker. He always is asking leading questions and trying to find the connections between topics.
Avi Falk – Avi is a great example of a curious, eager learner who wants to understand everything. He is never satisfied with simply an answer, seeking the details and subtleties of a problem or situation. Avi puts his best effort into every piece of work.
Kyle Grabowski – Kyle has been a consistently strong and hard working student throughout the year. He has the ability to learn new material quickly and well. His humble and modest demeanor sometimes masks his important contributions to the class room. He is simply a model mathematics student.
Alex Marwaha – Alex shows enthusiasm and interest for the topics in AP Computer Science Principles and has dedicated himself to producing excellent work in all aspects of the class. He participates thoughtfully and truly enhances the discourse in class.
Trang Phan – Trang did consistent outstanding work this trimester, improving on her very good work in the fall. Her project at the end of the trimester was particularly well done. She worked hard both in class and on her homework to reach a solid understanding of the material we covered in Calculus. I look forward to working with her in the spring!
Taryn Queenin – Taryn is a great math student, but she always supplements her ability with incredibly diligent preparation. I can always count on her to be completely prepared for class, and she seeks out help as soon as she does not fully understand a concept. She’s also just a truly nice person to have in class – always considerate and quick to help out.
Christina Vote – Christina is a dedicated student who goes the extra mile to fully understand each concept. She strives for excellence every day and is willing to work hard to achieve her goals. Her questions and dedication to the class brings her classmates to a higher level.
Glede Wang – Glede has been so focused on the details all year. She is able to incorporate not only the correct mathematical equations but also the writing and analysis that goes along with learning statistics. She is curious, seeking out answers to her questions. In class, she facilitate discussions combining old techniques with new ones. In short, she is a rock star who has continued to impress me with her persistence and drive in the course.

Past students of the trimester can be found right here: Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018Spring 2018, Fall 2018

2019 AP Calculus BC Free Response Questions & Answers!

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 11.36.37 AMA few days after each AP Calculus BC exam, the College Board releases the free response questions from the exam. They don’t release their very succinct answer keys for a few more weeks… so… I had my students make their own answer keys as well as screen recordings of their solutions!

Official 2019 answer keys will eventually go online right here, along with the ones from past years that have already been posted.

You can view the 2019 AP Calculus BC Free Response Questions right here.

All of the 2019 answer keys that my students created can be viewed right here.

All of their 2019 video solutions can be viewed right here.

You can check out this project from past years here (2018)here (2017), and here (2016).

Many more Williston student screencasts can be found online right here.