Also in Your Town: Palm Coast doctors serve in Philippines.
The STEM Academy at Wadsworth Elementary, with students participating from Buddy Talor and Indian Trails middle schools, placed second in the Northeast Florida Meet No. 4 regional competition, associated with the FIRST Technical Challenge, according to a news release.
The team, called STEM Academy Titanium, is the first FTC team from Flagler County to participate. The team members are: Austin Aumick, Sara Coello, Aiden Deschane, Mason Evans, Nick Groth, Mia Lino, Alania Skeie and Evan Williams, with coaching and mentoring support from Martin Evans and Jeff Cooke.
The students represented the STEM Academy at the competition with their robot named “Todd.” A number of other students participated in designing, developing and testing Todd, but were unable to attend this particular competition.
Meet No. 4 was held at Palatka High School on Dec. 8 and consisted of 25 robots built by students ranging from seventh- to twelfth-grade. Twenty-nine matches were held with each robot participating in five matches. Each match consists of four robots. The robots are paired into two “alliances.” Points scored by each robot in the alliance are summed to provide a team score (robots are not individually scored). Matches feature cooperation between teams with an advertised theme of "gracious professionalism" encouraged of all students.
The group previously competed at a match on Nov. 17 at Patriot Oaks Academy. After participating in both matches, “Todd” is tied for 17th place in the Florida Northeast region out of a field of 124 teams.
Also in Your Town:
Happy 60th wedding anniversary!
Ron and Bea Schmucker will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Dec. 19. The pair moved to Palm Coast in 1972. In 2013, they were informed by the Palm Coast Historical Society that they were then the longest living residents of the city who still lived there.
Ron is a U.S. Army veteran, and Bea was a dental assistant in the Women’s Army Corps. The couple and three sons have a total of over 65 years of active duty in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. They also have one daughter, six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
In 1977, Ron became the founding member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8696. He now enjoys reading and exercise. Bea is a dedicated woodcarver.
Local doctors perform hundreds of cataract surgeries in Philippines
Tomoka Eye Associates, with offices in Palm Coast, Ormond Beach and Port Orange welcomed back practice partner Dr. Mark Kennedy after he returned from a five-day mission trip in the Philippines where he successfully performed 420 cataract surgeries with fellow surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Levenson, according to a press release.
Kennedy is a board-certified cataract surgeon and comprehensive ophthalmology glaucoma specialist, and Levenson is the Medical Director for SEE International (a nonprofit coordinating sight restoring programs worldwide).
Kennedy was required to become certified with SEE, and the credentialing took several weeks. Dr. Don Alfonso, a general practice doctor from Palm Coast, who is also on the board of the Philippine Medical Society of Northeast Florida Inc., and Dr. Vincent Verdeflor, a pediatrician in Palm Coast, were part of the 120-volunteer team along with general surgery and oral maxillofacial doctors, primary care doctors, nurse practitioners and optometrists.
Living conditions while they were there were stark; it was 100 degrees with weak or no air conditioning, or just fans. There were communal showers, and it was out in middle of provinces at the Cadiz District Hospital in Cadiz, Negros Occidental, Philippines, two hours from Bacolod City.
“I wanted to help people that didn’t have access to healthcare,” Kennedy said in the release. “Colleague Dr. Alfonso from Palm Coast has been asking me to go with him for a while. …I’m so glad I did and I look forward to continuing to help in the future. It was very rewarding; it makes you grateful for all we have here.”
Palm Coast man sworn in
Ethan Brady, of Palm Coast, was recently sworn in as a midshipman in the U.S. Naval Reserve at the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. Brady was nominated by Senator Bill Nelson and Congressman Ron DeSantis.
The United States Merchant Marine Academy is a federal service academy that educates and graduates licensed Merchant Marine officers. In addition to the rigorous academic and physical requirements for admission, applicants must be nominated by their Congressman or Senator.
As part of his four-year education, Brady will spend one year training as a cadet aboard ocean going vessels. USMMA is the only federal academy where students train on commercial vessels traveling around the globe.