Gear Grinders

The Gear Grinders from Fort Couch Middle School

South Fayette

• South Fayette’s kindergarten registration is open to students who will be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1. Please go to the district’s website at and click on “2020-2021 South Fayette Kindergarten Screening Appointment” to register for an appointment scheduled for March 24 and 25.

The school district will be holding its incoming kindergarten parent meeting on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in the school gymnasium. A child’s registration packet will be given to the parent during this meeting. Parents will return this completed packet on the day of their child’s screening appointment in March. Principals, kindergarten teachers and a school nurse will explain the kindergarten process during the meeting and will be available to answer any questions.

Upper St. Clair

• A team of Upper St. Clair School District students earned two first-place and one third-place award at the VEX IQ robotics tournament, qualifying the team to compete in the state/regional championship and the CREATE U.S. Open.

Members of the team, the Gear Grinders, are Owen Bell, Ian Dvorin, Ryan Hyatt, Rohan Mehta and Carlee Santel.

The Gear Grinders team, competing against 21 teams from throughout the region, earned first place for the Excellence Award, the highest award in the competition; first place in the STEM Research Project competition; and third place for teamwork. The event was held on Dec. 13 at Keystone Oaks Middle School.

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Research Project Award is presented to the team that shares the most effective research. This award demonstrates the students’ depth of understanding of the season’s STEM topic and their research findings.

The Gear Grinders researched information about how robots are used to clean up plastic in the ocean, making our planet more environmentally friendly. For their submission, team members wrote and edited a script highlighting their findings and produced a four-minute video:

The Teamwork Challenge was “Squared Away.” Played on a 4-by-8-foot rectangular field, two robots compete as an alliance in 60-second match, working collaboratively to score points. The teamwork award is based on a team’s performance throughout a series of matches with a variety of teams.

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