2013-14 Highlights: TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING


Students used Flash animation to tell stories and learned how to use but­tons, text  and tweens to enhance the stories the students told.  In Flash, unlike the Disney cartoons, the computer creates all the frames in those between the first frame and the last and the students do not have to draw all the frames. Students learned how to do program in Action Script to control the buttons and thus the action of the animation. Students created a tutorial using Flash skills and their Photoshop work. Here is an example of a student’s work in Photoshop. The year ended on a fun note with students editing video they had shot.  Many students used their smartphones to shoot the video and then faced the challenge of how to move the video from the phone to the computer in a format that they could easily work with.  Once that hurtle was passed they completed a story in video format.  The cross platform work was very useful to all in that it is an obstacle they will have to deal with in the future.



The first semester of APCS was spent working on some basic concepts, such as how to manipulate text, called strings, and primitive data types. Then we worked with the idea of a class and an object.  Since Java, the language used in this class, is an object-oriented language, this will be one of the main areas we concentrate on. Our time is split between learn­ing about a new topic and using this topic in programming with one of the goals being to prepare for the AP exam in the spring.  We are well on our way and we will be attacking some more complex topics such as Arrays, ArrayLists, abstract classes and interfaces. The students were working hard preparing for the AP exam.  Their first task was to complete the GridWorld project.  This is a larger scale lab/project than we had worked on before.  It is part of the Exam and so important to the students’ success.  It has  been a good year with much learning on the part of all.



New at SVGS this year, this course lays the basic technical foundation that students will need to begin pre­paring for a career in Information Technology Security.

Co-taught by Mr. John York(BRCC network engineer) and Len Klein(SVGS staff), this course covered the basics of the OSI 7 layer model for networking , learning the basic network protocols, and their intended uses, understanding the basic command line tools needed to administer Linux and and Windows oper­ating systems and learning the basics of languages used to create web sites on Linux server:  Perl, PHP and JavaS­cript.  Throughout the year, students competed in a variety of networking and cyber security contests.

Competition – CyberAces

The first semester course material was developed by instructors who create high level courses for security professionals and is designed to pre­pare students to take those high level courses.  There were three national, online quiz competitions in the three core areas of Networking, Operating Systems, and Scripting administered by CyberAces. All students place above the 75th percentile in this national competition.  SVGS was the only school west of Richmond to participate in this contest.

The following students placed above the 90th percentile na­tionally:

Andy Vollmer, Lizzie Jongeward, Ruth Clem, Robert Rizzo, Becca Wenger, Paige Bellamy

Untitled-1123512t6358760-Competition – CyberAces Virginia State Championship Netwars

Five SVGS  students participated in the Cyber Aces State Championship in Virginia, a celebration of cyber talent that was the culmination of a competition that began in Fall 2013. Participants made it through three rigorous training modules last fall and this past weekend competed in NetWars, where they showcased their cyberskills and competed against their peers. During the four-hour competition, students, veterans, professionals and other job-seekers demonstrated their hacking skills in a defense simulation called NetWars, a hands-on security simulator used by the U.S. military to train officers in network warfare.  Ben Hackley, WHS placed 23rd and Andy Vollmer, WMHS, placed 27th in this state competition. 

Competition – Governor’s Cyber Cup Challenge  CyberPatriots

Students competed in the The Governor’s Cyber Cup Challenge – a team event consisting of online practice and elimination rounds.  Using the CyberPatriot Competition System (CCS) and other software, teams were scored on their ability to find and fix operating system vulnerabilities, maintain essential services, protect networks, and conduct forensics on their systems.

Competition – Radford University Cyber Defense Contest

Students also competed in a Cyberdefense contest sponsored by Radford University on March 21. Students competed in teams of 3-5 against 35 students from other high schools and community colleges. The contest was a challenge based capture the flag. Students solved puzzles and went on a treasure hunt (digital forensics) to find the ultimate flag. They were judged on the number of cyberpuzzles they solved (e.g., breaking a cipher or finding a secret cookie).  Three teams competed in the Radford University Capture the Flag competition.  Among the high school teams, SVGS finished 2nd and 3rd.   Teams were:

2nd Place  –  Ruth Clem, Aaron White, Brenden Fulton, Robert Rizzo

3rd Place  – Sean Roberts, Conner Henderson, Ben Hackley,  Laney Janes, Andy Vollmer

 Competition – US Cyber Challenge: Cyber Quests

Andy Vollmer and Ben Hackley also competed in the US Cyber Challenge: Cyber Quests April 2014.  The competition qualifies students to go to the Eastern Region Cyber Camp. Andy Vollmer, WMHS, qualified to attend Va. Tech’s Cyber Security Boot Camp this summer.

The students also worked on individual or small group projects related to network security.  One group produced an instructional video on personal safety and privacy on the web, while others worked on challenge-based security tests.


Untitled-12362ENGINEERING I

The Engineering Design Process (EDP) forms the unifying theme for our SVGS Introduction to Engineer­ing course.  Students explored case studies and applied the EDP to vari­ous design problems as we began the year. We then completed a unit on orthographic sketching and translat­ed those skills to computer-aided design.  Students learned the basics of Rhinoceros 4.0, our CAD software package, and in project teams devel­oped a design for an SVGS keepsake. More recently, we discussed intellec­tual property and reverse engineering where students applied their know-how first to a disposable camera and then to a product of their choosing. Apart from concrete engineering skills, students in Intro to Engineering also practice technical communica­tion skills and have the opportunity to interact with engineers in the local community. In early October, stu­dents visited the Lycra® spandex facility in Waynesboro and spoke with a variety of engineers about their roles in the R&D and manufac­turing processes. Mr. Alex Sullivan, a mechanical engineer and project manager from McKee Foods, also visited our class and shared his back­ground and highlights of his work.  Intro to Engineering focused on electrical and structural engineering in the second semester.  Students designed both analog and digital circuits and modeled them mathematically.  They learned breadboarding techniques and programmed a microcontroller to drive a 7-segment digital display.  They also built and programmed a robot for intelligent navigation using a version of BASIC computer language in conjunction with infra-red and touch sensors.

In the structural engineering unit, students analyzed and designed trusses using principles from physics.  They constructed and tested Pratt truss bridges, then designed their own truss bridges using West Point Bridge Designer software.  Student teams presented their bridge designs at a simulated “town meeting” to the citizens and community leaders who would select the final design for the project. Our class was fortunate to have engineers from industry visit our class to discuss their work and share their career paths:

Ms. Kathy Garber, an electrical engineer and Interface Analyst from Meddius Inc.

Mr. Todd Stevens, a professionally licensed civil engineer and District Construction Engineer for VDOT

Many thanks to Ms. Garber and Mr. Stevens for enriching our classroom experience!




Three seniors Holly Martin, Ryley Stevens & Andy Vollmer com­pleted a dual enrollment class, Intro­duction to Engineering with Dr. James Groves, UVA.  The course is delivered online and requires exten­sive group collaboration with stu­dents from Blue Ridge Virtual Gover­nors School.   SVGS students formed an Engineering Design Team (EDT) which defined a problem. They iden­tified a solution concept and worked to develop a preliminary design and prototype. This design was described by a written and illustrated report . Second semester, seniors Holly Martin, Ryley Stevens and Andy Vollmer undertook a service learning project to assist SVGS in reviewing engineering software LabView (Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench) by National Instruments.  This software provides a system designed platform for visual programming and is used for data collection, instrument control and automation.  These students explored all facets of the software, researching, testing equipment, troubleshooting, integration of instrumentation with hardware.  Student made two presentations outlining the functionality, application



GIS began the year with a unit on maps and the basic workings of ArcGIS.  They quickly moved on from simple assignments that showed them how to use the tools of ArcGIS to doing mini-projects and health and safety tutorials. Their first big mini-project involved a trip to the Frontier Culture Museum to study one of the farms and research a question about their specific farm.  Students re­worked these presentations to show how GIS helped them learn about their farms; presented at UVA on GIS day. GIS ended the semester with a midterm project examining the effects of Hurricanes Katrina or Wil­ma on the United States and presen­tation for JMU professors.  Students began the semester with tutorials involving a hypothetical terrorist attack in California.  They also began working on their research projects for their final exam.  Students covered a variety of projects with their final research including football recruitment, the best location for a cupcake business, air pollution in Virginia, locating a drainage system on a baseball field, and mapping missed goalie saves in UEFA.  Students also did a project in downtown Staunton comparing GPS mapping to geocoding to see which would be more accurate for a city map of businesses.


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