On Tuesday, December 12, Valley Christian Schools International Space Station (ISS) Program received a commendation from the San Jose Mayor’s Office. Valley Christian Schools President, Dr. Clifford Daugherty and the VP of AMSE, Danny Kim, were accompanied by a group of ISS students, teachers, and program mentors who proudly represented VCS on the council chamber floor.
During the award presentation, Councilmember Johnny Khamis stated that, through the Quest Institute, VCS expanded its program to surrounding schools, both public and private.
He went on to say, “To date, the students have sent 122 experiments to the International Space Station with 37 schools actively participating in their program. Thank you, Valley Christian Schools for engaging our youth in extraordinary opportunities and showing them ‘The sky is NOT the limit.’”
After accepting the commendation from Mayor Sam Liccardo, Dr. Daugherty stated, “These students, along with the schools we partner with, have put up more experiments on the International Space Station in the last five years than NASA.”
Special thanks to Mayor Sam Liccardo, Councilmember Johnny Khamis, and the entire City Council staff for this prestigious honor.
This year’s Christmas at the California concert showcased a groundbreaking collaboration between the Arts, Academics, and Athletics at Valley Christian Schools. Troy Gunter, VP/Director of the Conservatory of Arts was accompanied on stage by Eric Scharrenberg, VP of Athletics and PE, and Danny Kim, VP of AMSE. Together they spoke about the power of A3 and how their programs supported each other to empower our students to compete in the XPRIZE Competition.
The XPRIZE Competition, sponsored by Shell, challenges teams to map the ocean floor, all while competing for $7 million in prize money. The students from AMSE's Ocean Quest Team are the only pre-college aged team still in the running.
Students from the Ocean Quest Team were invited to the concert stage and recognized for their tremendous efforts. Danny Kim pointed out that “Unlike the Conservatory that has a stage to perform on, when the XPRIZE judges signed off on the last requirement, a couple of the kids clapped and that was our encore.”
At the concert, the orchestra debuted the world premiere of an original score, written by VCHS alumni Yuma Sung (’07), which provided a rich backdrop for the XPRIZE video, highlighting the team’s journey from the beta tests in the VC swimming pool to the semi-finals in the Atlantic Ocean. The team is eager to hear if they are through to the finals, which will be announced in March 2018.
More than 70 incredible teams submitted their thoughtful analyses, using crime data sets from real police departments in Baltimore, Seattle, and Cincinnati.
As the Best Overall High School winners, they will have an opportunity to share their recommendations with the Seattle police department! Additionally, each team member will receive a $50 Amazon gift card and commemorative T-Shirt.
Eight students and two mentors traveled to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to compete in the XPRIZE Competition. Shortly after their arrival on Saturday, November 18, they went out to sea to launch their AUVs in front of the judges. That day, everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. Their AUV shorted out and would not start, and the second AUV in the water had a bad battery and became disabled. On its way back in, the above surface vehicle that Florida Atlantic University was testing ran aground and was disabled. The team worked all night to get one AUV working, and the above surface vehicle was repaired in the morning.
Monday morning, Dr. Daugherty arrived and gave a devotion from Isaiah 51:15-16 and 52:6-7 with the students, XPRIZE judges and partners. He challenged us to believe the Creator of the heavens and the Earth can give divine downloads and help them succeed if they checked their motives and recommitted their efforts “as unto the Lord” and His purposes. They prayed together that all they did would glorify our Lord and bring transformation to education. God answered our prayers! The rest of the day every test they ran SUCCEEDED! The XPRIZE judges were impressed and amazed.
On the final day they had one last requirement. They were able to get their mapping data and the software to run it on the morning of the last day of the evaluation. They also met every requirement and received sign off by the XPRIZE judges! They completed 10 of the 11 requirements, and the last one is something they have until January to complete. Their AUV was deployed autonomously by their surface vehicle, which is the first time this has ever been done!
Thank you to everyone who prayed and supported the team throughout the competition. They have a very good chance of moving onto the final round which will be another XPRIZE record! Results will be available in March 2018.
Valley Christian High School has some of the best high-school mathematicians in the country, as demonstrated by their 5th-place finish in the 2017 Team Scramble, a national mathematics contest administered by National Assessment & Testing. Coaches Claudia Smith and Ted Shim prepared students for the first major competition of the academic year, in which 44 VCHS Math Club students worked furiously for thirty minutes, racing to answer one hundred problems in a variety of mathematical topics.
After results from students across the nation were processed, one Valley Christian High School student received an individual award on the Fall Startup Event. Vittal Thirumalai placed 3rd in the 10th-grade division.
Valley Christian High School will be participating in all four of National Assessment & Testing’s contests this year, including the 2017 Ciphering Time Trials on December 7th and 2018 Four-by-Four Competition on February 1st.