JMS girls selected as regional winners in national computer science competition

Jamie Lindsley and Klara Proffen

Jamie Lindsley, left, and Klara Proffen, right, students at Jefferson Middle School in Oak Ridge, have been selected as regional winners in a national computer science competition for middle school girls. (Submitted photo)


Two students at Jefferson Middle School in Oak Ridge have been selected as regional winners in a national computer science competition for middle school girls.

The students, Jamie Lindsley and Klara Proffen, wanted to help patients overcome their anxiety before a MRI scan, so they developed a virtual reality MRI simulator for the national online ProjectCSGirls competition. This online competition promotes computer science among middle school girls and has attracted hundreds of students from around the United States who submit their projects, a press release said.

Lindsley and Proffen have been invited to attend the competition’s national awards gala in June in the Washington area, the press release said.

More on the competition is available here:

More on the project is available here:

ORHS AP Chemistry students place third in nation in science competition

Eddie Anderson

Eddie Anderson

Advanced Placement Chemistry students at Oak Ridge High School placed third in the nation in chemistry in the National Science League competition, the school’s Science Department said.

The students are in the AP Chemistry class taught by Eddie Anderson at ORHS.

The test was given to all AP Chemistry students, the Science Department said. [Read more…]

New Lifestar air medical base in Rockwood will serve Roane County

UT Lifestar Helicopter

A UT Lifestar helicopter (N135UT), pictured in the forefront, will be servicing Roane County. (Photo by University of Tennessee Medical Center)


A new Lifestar air medical base in Rockwood will serve Roane County, the University of Tennessee Medical Center announced Friday.

UT Lifestar Aeromedical Services plans to open the base later in the summer at the Rockwood Municipal Airport.

Last month, Lifestar reached an agreement with Air Evac EMS Inc. to assume responsibility for medical operations of the Air Evac Lifeteam located in Etowah, Tennessee, a press release said. Lifestar also operates a facility in Sweetwater. The Rockwood base will be staffed by one of the teams from the Etowah/Sweetwater facilities. Services in the Etowah/Sweetwater area remain in operation as usual, the release said.

“Lifestar is pleased to have the opportunity to move to the Roane County region,” said Jeff Gregory, Lifestar director. “Being located in this area will allow us to provide faster aeromedical services to the citizens and visitors in this region.” [Read more…]



JMS Atomic Eagles win Rising Star award at Razorback Invitational

JMS Atomic Eagles at Razorback Invitational

The Jefferson Middle School Atomic Eagles, a FIRST LEGO League team, are pictured above at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, from May 14-17. (Photo by Yvonne Dalschen)


The Atomic Eagles, a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team from Jefferson Middle School in Oak Ridge, received the Rising Star award at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on May 14-17.

This competition hosted 72 FLL teams from around the world. Thirteen different nations and 31 different states were represented.

The Rising Star award is given to the team that the judges notice and expect great things from in the future.

Thomas Proffen, the team mentor, received the second-place adult mentor award. This award goes to the mentor whose wisdom, guidance, and devotion are most clearly evident in the team’s discussion with the judges. He has been volunteering with the Atomic Eagles since 2013, when Lego League was restarted at Jefferson Middle School by coaches Janie and Harold Shanafield. Proffen is the director of the Neutron Data Analysis and Visualization Division in the Neutron Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. [Read more…]

Roane State-ORHS dual credit ceramics class gives students new perspectives

Bryan Wilkerson and Katie Stewart in Ceramics Class

Roane State art professor Bryan Wilkerson works with student Katie Stewart during the college’s dual credit ceramics class at Oak Ridge High School. (Submitted photo)


For now, Oak Ridge High School ceramics students create sculptures, bowls, and figures.

Maybe later, they’ll create new businesses, innovative products, and groundbreaking technology.

Either way, the process is the same. Start with mush—clay for the moment. Use creativity, problem-solving, and analysis to turn the mush into something special. That’s the lesson Roane State Community College art professor Bryan Wilkerson wants the Oak Ridge students to learn in his dual credit ceramics classes.

“I treat this no differently than all of my classes,” Wilkerson said. “I want them to come away with an understanding of techniques. I’m also trying to help them develop their own artistic direction, creative problem-solving, how to start with an idea and see it through to a finished piece.” [Read more…]

UCOR awards 33 mini-grants for local school projects

UCOR, the U.S. Department of Energy’s cleanup contractor at the Oak Ridge Reservation, has announced the 33 winners of the UCOR Education Mini-Grant Program.

UCOR is a partnership between URS and CH2M Oak Ridge LLC.

The company said one of its primary objectives is to support and encourage education initiatives.

“The Mini-Grant Program was designed to recognize and support excellence in teaching by providing funds to assist classroom teachers for specific projects or curricula, focusing primarily on science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM,” a press release said. [Read more…]

Education Foundation to award $93,894 in grants at Wednesday ceremony

Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation

As part of its “Making the Critical Difference” campaign, the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation will award more than $93,000 in grants to Oak Ridge teachers at a ceremony this Wednesday, May 20.

Oak Ridge alumni and WBIR Anchor Moira Kaye will be the featured speaker at the event for what she has described as her career’s “last personal appearance.” The ceremony is open to the public, and it will be held in the Oak Ridge High School cafeteria beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Demonstrations and displays of some of the projects and technology funded by the Foundation will be given after the formal ceremony.

The 2015 grant recipients are as follows: [Read more…]

Roane State’s Roane County campus to be closed Wednesday, May 27

Roane State Community College’s main campus in Harriman will be closed Wednesday, May 27, while the water line that supplies the campus is under repair.

During the repairs, water to the campus will be shut off. All other Roane State locations will be open and on schedule.

Two classes in session on May 27 have been relocated to the Princess Theatre and to Channel 15 television station in downtown Harriman.

The main campus will reopen Thursday, May 28.

Education: A path out of poverty

Chris Whaley

Chris Whaley

“Education: A Path out of Poverty,” will be the theme of an interfaith luncheon at First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge at noon on June 5. Chris Whaley, president of Roane State Community College, will be the guest speaker.

The cost of the noon luncheon is $5, payable at the door. The luncheon is open to the public.

Admission to the talk is free. To make a reservation, call the church office at (865) 482-1318 or send an email to [email protected].

In the international development community, it is well-known that education is one of the most effective ways to improve the economic growth and potential of a country, a press release said. UNESCO reports that an additional year of schooling will raise income by 10 percent. [Read more…]

Parents, teachers, students show support for ‘venerated’ teacher under investigation

Eddie Anderson

Eddie Anderson

Note: This story was last updated at 12:05 p.m.

About 200 people turned out at a school board meeting on Wednesday to show support for longtime teacher and track coach Eddie Anderson, who has been suspended without pay pending a police investigation, and to challenge some of the accusations made against him. Some objected to the process used by the school system, saying the reputation of a fantastic teacher has been sullied.

Anderson, an Oak Ridge High School chemistry teacher hired in 1979, was suspended without pay on April 30 while the Oak Ridge Police Department investigates an allegation of inappropriate contact with a former student. In the letter announcing the suspension, Oak Ridge Schools Assistant Superintendent Chris Marczak said the allegation was being turned over to the ORPD as a criminal investigation.

No additional details about that allegation have been released. Anderson’s attorney, Dennis Francis, declined to comment last week, and the Oak Ridge Board of Education and Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent’s Office have been advised to not comment until the investigation is complete. City officials have also not commented on the ongoing investigation by the Police Department.

In the meantime, most of the public discussion has focused on an April 11 track meet, the Taco Bell Invitational in South Carolina. School administrators said, among other things, that Anderson knew ahead of time that a hotel the team was going to stay in was “unacceptable and dangerous,” that he did not inform parents of the specifics of the trip and did not answer the phone when they called, and did not double-check student room assignments, which led to a girl entering a boys’ room through an adjoining door and engaging in “inappropriate contact.” [Read more…]

St. Mary’s School receives $10,000 physical education grant

St. Mary's School

St. Mary’s School in Oak Ridge is one of 20 Tennessee middle schools to have been awarded a 2015 Shape the State grant to improve its physical education program. The grant, valued at $10,000, is funded by the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation.

In addition, St. Mary’s will also receive $1,000 to spend at its discretion for PE, nutrition, and wellness efforts. St. Mary’s first-year athletic director and physical education teacher Shannon Adcock submitted the grant in April.

According to the state Department of Health, about 40 percent of Tennessee children are overweight or obese. Obesity dramatically increases a person’s risk for dangerous health conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The Shape the State grants continue a longstanding practice of BlueCross’ Tennessee Health Foundation’s supporting efforts to fight childhood obesity in the state, a press release said. [Read more…]

New summer STEM Camp at Robertsville Middle School: Invention Project

Robertsville Middle School is offering Invention Project, a brand new STEM summer camp for rising sixth- to eighth-graders from June 8-12.

Invention Project builds on the great success of the Camp Invention STEM program last summer, a press release said. STEM is an acronym that means science, technology, engineering, and math, but it is also an interdisciplinary educational approach that blends these fields, which are deeply intertwined in the real world and in how students learn most effectively.

The Invention Project summer camp features a variety of entertaining and educational STEM challenges to engage the inventor, artist, and entrepreneur in each participant, the press release said. [Read more…]