What We’ve Heard — April 29, 2024

BSH students won the regional prize for the K-3 age group in the ExploraVision competition. (Top row, left to right): Tony DiPietro, Ashley Mertz, Acacia McKenna. (Bottom row, left to right): Carlos Staylor, Mason Tovar, Kolby Nguyen. (Photo/Cat Ringling)

Young inventors at BSH win regional prize (above): A team of third graders from Blessed Sacrament Huguenot (BSH), Powhatan, was selected as a regional winner in the nationwide ExploraVision competition April 2. Sponsored by Toshiba and the National Science Teaching Association, ExploraVision is a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) competition that challenges students to design theoretical inventions that could change the future.

Mason Tovar, Kolby Nguyen and Carlos Staylor made up the winning team. Their hypothetical invention, called the “Life Saver,” would use drone technology to deliver life vests to drowning swimmers out of the reach of a lifeguard.

“The students put together a lengthy presentation about the history of their design, the present technology that’s available, and the future technology they envision,” said Ashley Mertz, the STEAM teacher at BSH who prepared students for competition.

“They researched what materials they would use,” she continued. “They also created a model of the invention using cardboard.”

Thousands of teams from the United States and Canada entered the competition. All applicants were divided into six regions, and the regions were divided into four age groups: grades K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. One regional winner was selected from each age group.

Tovar, Nguyen and Staylor are moving onto the national competition. Out of the six teams in their age group, two teams will be awarded first and second place on May 6.

Sister Susan Mary Mudd

Sister’s 70th anniversary (right): Sister Susan Mary Mudd, who served for six years in the Diocese of Richmond as an educator, is celebrating her 70th year of religious life. The Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph was principal of St. Anne School, Bristol, from 1991-96, and of Charlottesville Catholic School from 1996-97. Her 70th anniversary coincides with a 150th anniversary celebration for the Ursuline Sisters, who arrived in Maple Mount, Kentucky, in 1874.

Father Jonathan Goertz has fun racing, fundraising (below, left): Father Jonathan Goertz, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes (OLL), Richmond, completed the Monument Avenue 10K on April 20 to raise money for the parish social ministry.

To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the parish, OLL asked parishioners for $80 pledges, and Father Goertz attempted to complete the 10K in under 80 minutes. In the end, he clocked in at 87 minutes, setting a steady 4 mph pace. Our Lady of Lourdes recorded $3,534 in donations.

(Photo/Megan Cottam)

As part of the effort, Father Goertz asked OLL students to vote on a costume for him to wear during the race. The students selected a lion’s mane, tail and paws, reflective of their school mascot.

“There is a footrace that is a part of the Easter story,” said Father Goertz, referring to the race between Peter and the beloved disciple (Jn 20:3-4). “In our faith, we have the experience of running out to meet Jesus, as well as running out to share Jesus with others.”

Solidarity with Ukraine (below): The Knights of Columbus Council 16535, of St. Mary’s, Lovingston, has been raising funds for its Ukraine Solidarity Fund. Since 2022, the Knights have held a Ukraine Benefit event, raising $30,000 over three years. This year’s benefit was April 12 at the Nelson Heritage Center, featuring an authentic Ukrainian meal of sausage and pierogies, sauerkraut, potato salad, and borscht beet soup. The money will go toward people displaced by war, mercy centers in Poland, supplies and care packages.

(Photo submitted)

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