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On Friday, Tim participated as part of his Chambers Music ensemble in the Mid Winter Madrigal Festival Concert in Burlington. He and his ensemble performed wonderfully. The church hosting the event that evening resonated with the sweet sounds of 250 high school chambers singers. Each group sang individual programs and then they all joined together for a 250-strong chorus to perform the final songs of the evening.
We spent the afternoon and evening up in Burlington in order to finish up some Christmas shopping and enjoy the concert. It was well worth the trip.
This Wednesday is the MRU winter vocal concert and Tim has a solo performance. We are very proud and looking forward to listening to him sing.
Here are some pictures from the Madrigal Festival.
It’s not everyday that you open the newspaper and see a picture of your child smiling back at you. At least I don’t think it happens for many people. But it happened for us this morning. Tim and his Odyssey teammates were front page news in the Rutland Herald with an article lauding their achievement at World Finals this last weekend.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it does. Just when you think your heart can’t swell any bigger with pride, it does. Magical….just plain old magical.
Here’s the entire article from the Rutland Herald:
By Cristina Kumka
STAFF WRITER – Published: June 3, 2011
A group of local high school students recently got a one-up on their careers — with the help of 28 mousetraps.
The Mill River Union High School Odyssey of the Mind clinched second place in the world for conquering Odyssey’s “Extreme Mousemobile” vehicle engineering challenge.
The 33rd annual global competition forced students to work together as a team. The goal was to harness each student’s creative thinking skills in order to solve divergent, long- and short-term problems in fun and creative ways. The results were then presented before a panel of judges.
This year, the Mill River team figured out how to re-engineer the mousetrap’s metal loop, which is designed to catch a mouse, into a device that propelled a “Pi-Rat” ship through one challenge and over the next.
While many engineers have tried making mousetrap-powered cars, the team’s vehicle earned such a high ranking because of its creativity — using the energy of multiple mousetraps and the leverage and shape offered by bicycle wheels to move a ship long and short distances. In addition to movement, the ship also could drop an anchor and raise a flag, among other tasks, according to team leaders.
Through trial and error, the team of youngsters used bike wheels as big pulleys and made the most of a long string by figuring out to use the full amount of force provided by the mousetrap flap, according to Tim Vile, the team’s coach and engineer.
The spring power from the mousetraps powered the wheels and moved the vehicle, Vile said.
The finished ship was revised by the team four times prior to the world competition and it looked completely different than any other mousetrap-powered vehicle, Vile said.
Mill River’s winning Odyssey team is composed of ninth-grader Rowan Dubin-Masuck, ninth-grader Sarah Osmer, eighth-grader Ian Dansereau, eighth-grader Tim Heffernan, eighth-grader Anjelica Carroll, and eighth-grader Elizabeth Bushey.
The team was coached by Vile and parent Nan Dubin.
The accomplishment not only resulted in two awards for the team, but also drew recognition from the University of Vermont’s School of Engineering.
Educators there say the team is comprised of the exact group of students the college is looking for.
Jeff Frolik of UVM’s School of Engineering said America’s workforce needs students like them now.
“To solve a problem, you are going to need more than one point of view,” Frolik said.
Frolik said today’s mechanical engineering field is morphing into something more consumer-friendly and students in his school need to learn how to communicate and present the highly technical information they have mastered to the average audience.
Math is at the core of engineering, but today, communication also needs to be a critical factor, Frolik said.
Graduates of UVM’s School of Engineering have gone on to work in the industries of aerospace, manufacturing, composites and carbon fiber. Graduates also have had the opportunity to work in renewable energy or electrical engineering for state-sponsored projects like Smart Grid installation.
Dawn Densmore, a director of outreach and public relations for UVM, said the Odyssey competition caters to the best and brightest – exactly what the college wants in its engineering program.
“We are interested in hands-on application and students learning creatively,” she said. “We want those students at UVM. Businesses are clamoring for applicable knowledge – how do physics and math apply? … Not just book knowledge, but a tangible way to solve a problem.”
Companies seeking to hire graduates want to know that students understand why they are learning what they are learning, Densmore said.
“The thing that doesn’t work in a given project is what you remember the most. And it’s critical in our world to work in a team because nothing is done without one,” she said.
A team from Stowe Playhouse also earned second place for its “Full Circle” theatrical performance about how different parts of our brains store and recollect memories.
Tim and his fellow Odyssey of the Mind teammates, Anjelica, Ian, Rowan, Elizabeth and Sarah brought home a Second Place Trophy and the coveted Renatra Fusca Creativity award for their Mousemobile problem solution at Odyssey World Finals at the University of Maryland this past weekend.
We are so very proud of them and all of their hard work!
Here is a video of their award winning performance (note their 28 mousetrap powered vehicle).
Here are videos of the team receiving their Renatra Fusca award
MRU’s Stage 20′s performance of Mr. Fantastic Fox premiered tonight. Guess who was Mr. Fantastic Fox?
Tim and the entire cast did a wonderful job. We are proud of him. A lot of hard work and practice went into making a fantastic show. Everyone gets a well deserved pat on the back. Good work Mill River!
I must say that it has been a good birthday. I had a nice breakfast out with my hubby and then a delicious dinner cooked by Tim and his friend, Ian. He made Fettucine Bolognese with a Chocolate Cake for dessert.
The cooks hard at work…..
Tim made a meal totally Uncle Lou style – enough to feed a small army…..
And to top it all off a great cake….made with lots of chocolate and lots of love —the best combination!
It’s hard being a mom sometimes. You second guess yourself and then you second guess your second guessing… and well, you get it. You see things in your kids that they might not even see and you want things for them that you swear that they don’t even know that they want. Tonight was the high school auditions for Bye Bye Birdie. We “encouraged” Tim to go. The boy honestly has talent, he is a born entertainer. No stage fright, he morphs into a character in an amazing fashion. Auditions were open to 8th through 12th grade. Usually middle school is not part of the high school productions so this was a bit of a big deal. Tonight, we walked into the gymnasium and into a sea (okay so not quite a sea, more like a gaggle if indeed teenagers can be called a gaggle) of high school kids. Tim walked in, looked back and gave me one of those “Thanks for throwing me to the sharks, Mom” looks. My heart froze “what had I done?” His friend had promised to go with him to auditions, but he was nowhere to be seen. At a glance, my little, youngest, baby 8th grader was in a room of high school kids. So what did I do?
I left. Seriously, sounds horrible but I left. I had to leave to drive my middle son somewhere and honestly I thought that he would be less self-conscious if I wasn’t the only mother (or parent) in the auditorium (which at that moment I was). Bad enough that the poor kid was thrown to the sharks, but did Mom have to bear witness?
I am happy to report that when I returned I got a “thumbs up” from the little man and I sat for a while (there were a couple other parents there by then) to see him sing and perform. As I suspected he was great, wonderful – totally in his element.
The long and short of it was that he came away from the audition with a good feeling. He thought that he did his best and he’ll have to wait to see if he gets a part (and if so, which one). I hope that he does, since I know that this is where he belongs – where his talent shines (and not just coming from his mom). The “sharks” turned out to be a great bunch of kids, very welcoming and very encouraging -to Tim and to each other. And he turns out to not be the only 8th grader there, which was also good.
Now, we sit and we wait for the cast sheet to be posted. Hopefully, when he comes home it will be with a smile on his face. :)
Today is a happy day – it’s Tim’s birthday! Today, my baby – the youngest of the gang becomes a teenager. He is the Last of the Mohegans – the last child to cross over the threshold into teenager-dom. He’s a great kid and it’s so hard to believe that he is now 13 years old. Seems like only yesterday….
The tides in the Heffernan house have changed with this birthday – no longer a house of boys – rather we are a house of teenagers.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TIM – WE LOVE YOU!!!!!
Here is the video of Tim’s Mill River Odyssey of the Mind team’s performance at World Finals that earned them an Honorable Mention. They placed 5th out of about 55 teams. We are proud of them, they did a great job! It was a great way to end a fun week.
After a day of writing donation request letters, we were surrounded last night by even more letters, except these were the varsity kind. It was the Winter Sports Awards Ceremony at the boys’ school. Our oldest, TJ was on the varsity snowboard team which is quite the honor being a freshman. Vermont is one of only two states in the country that even has varsity snowboarding as a sport. Since he was on the Varsity team he was of course entitled to receive his varsity letter. Big deal to a high school kid and of course bigger deal to the parents of a high school kid who were pretty darn proud. So where, you may ask, did this whole Varsity Letter thing come from?
The history of the Varsity letter supposedly began with (can you guess?) Harvard. In 1865 its baseball team started sewing an old English letter “H” onto grey flannel shirts. The team wore the shirts for games. and if a player was especially good at an important game or scored a significant amount of points, they were permitted to keep the shirt. About ten years later, the Harvard football team began incorporating the “H” letter on their uniforms.
It was quite the nice change from the letter writing I had been doing all day. Then I jetted out of there for the youngest one’s final rock climbing competition. His middle school team came in third place for the season.