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Academics

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YULA Boys Robotics Team Undefeated After Three Matches

YULA Girls First Debate Tournament

The YULA Boys varsity robotics team won its third consecutive meet December 2 to remain undefeated in the 2018-19 season. The junior varsity team also placed well: 4th and 3rd in the first two of this season’s three meets. Each team’s robot completes various tasks to earn points. In each round of the competition, robots from competing teams are paired up to form alliances. The alliance that scores the most points wins that round. The varsity team has not only won all of its meets, but it has also won each round. The team has even won in rounds in which the other robot in the alliance was unable to move, meaning that YULA Boys was responsible for all points in that round. During the competition, the robots move both autonomously––pre-programmed by the team––and with driver controls. During the autonomous phase, the robots drop themselves to the ground from a lander in the middle of the playing field. Afterward, the robots scan their surroundings in order to maneuver. “It was particularly difficult to have the robot controller auton-

French essayist, Joseph Joubert, once said, “It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.” The YULA Girls were excited for their first debate tournament on Monday evening, November 19! Fourteen girls on the YULA Girls Debate team competed against the students from Beverly Hills High School. The YULA Girls Debate Team, led by seniors Tali Gershov, Ayelet Topp, and Penina Waghalter, have been practicing every Monday night since the beginning of the school year. The practices last about an hour as the girls exchange ideas, express diverging views, and assert their opinions. The girls debate various topics ranging from banning the death penalty to what the appropriate drinking age should be. Discussions are lively,

Akiva Brookler (‘21), Layout Editor

Daniel Tarko (‘20) works on the YULA Boys varsity team’s robot. omously find the yellow cube,” said varsity Captain Daniel Tarko (‘20). “We are the only team in our competition to do this consistently, giving us a big leg up on the competition.” When the robots are moved by remote control, it is easier to score points. The YULA Boys robotics teams have been working since the start of the school year on their robots. The teams are constantly tinkering to improve their

robots even though they have consistently won meets by wide margins. “We’re always trying to improve our robot so that we can learn more and be prepared for harder competition,” team member Yoni Merkin (‘21) said. Many team members agree with Merkin and see each team’s continued improvement as a major factor in its success. There are three students on the varsity team and nine on the

Aliza Nissanoff (‘22)

JV team. Varsity is led by Tarko; JV, by Moshe Epstein (‘21). Mr. Alec Gomez, a former engineer, mentors the teams. This year the robotics meets have been held in YULA Boys’ new Samson Center, so in addition to a strong coach, the team enjoys the benefits of a home-

heated, and everyone has a chance to refine their public speaking skills. To prepare for the tournament, the students were told to address whether or not the electoral college should be abolished and create a speech based on their perspective. The three hour tournament consisted of three rounds in total: two rounds to determine the students with the highest score and a final round where the winner would be determined. The panel of voluntary judges were comprised of students’ parents. Many girls from the YULA team made it to the final round and although defeated, the YULA Girls performed amazingly! For those who were wondering, the winner chose to keep the electoral college intact. The tournament was a great way to kick off the season!

court advantage. Each robotics team’s goal is to advance to the regional competition, but the teams are unsure if they will be able to compete in later competitons because many competitions outside of YULA’s league are held on Saturdays.

YULA Boys Hires New Physics Teacher

YULA Girls Robotics Team Competes in FTC

The sudden decision of YULA Boys math and science teacher Cody Staves to relocate to Vermont prompted a frenetic search for a replacement. YULA believes that Mr. Daniel Haiem, a former YULA student (‘11), is their man. In early November, Mr. Staves, who taught several science and math classes here at YULA, including one Advanced Placement (AP) course, decided to pursue his passion for coaching hockey and currently serves as the head coach of the hockey team and as a member of the science department at The Vermont Academy, a boarding school in Saxtons River, Vt. YULA was able to find a replacement almost immediately in Mr. Haiem, who began teaching the AP and at-grade-level physics courses to 11th and 12th graders. “The transition was as fluid as one could ask for given the circumstances,” said Mr. Haiem. “The staff was supportive, and I’m lucky to have such a scientifically curious and intelligent class. Personally, I love physics and I hope to help

This past quarter school year, the YULA Girls Robotics team competed in the First Tech Challenge (FTC) competition taking place at YULA Boys High School. YULA Girls is just one out of many schools that compete in this tournament from all over the state. So far the competitions have went fairly well and the team is very pleased with their work. In one of our many competitions (November 18), we started off in 11th place and moved up 5 places to 6th by the end of the competition. Everyone on the robotics team has been working very hard these past few weeks, staying multiple days a week after school for hours just working on our robot to perfection. At this rate, we will be heading off to regionals and finals in no time!

Gavriel Gershov (‘20), Israel and Photo Editor

my students experience that passion as well.” Between his graduation and his return to YULA, Mr. Haiem created an app called ClassCalc, which offers an alternative to expensive Texas Instruments graphing calculators. Students can use the app during tests by turning on a special mode that notifies teachers if students have left the app. “Although YULA undergoes many changes, its core never changes. I treat my students the same way my best teachers treated me,” said Mr. Haiem. Despite a generally smooth transition, the replacement forced some rescheduling. The AP and at-level physics classes merged. Due to these changes in the students’ schedules, students in the at-level class were offered the chance to move up to the AP level through testing. None has done so, primarily because AP Physics C, the course Mr. Haiem teaches, is calculus based, and those in the at-level class are not enrolled in a calculus class. “We have … already found a liking for Mr. Haiem and are ex-

Mr. Daniel Haiem lectures his AP Physics class on kinematics. cited for the remainder of the year with him,” Menachem Kornreich (‘19), an AP student, said. “He interacts really well with the students because he was in our shoes just a few years ago.” ClassCalc, Mr. Haiem’s app, is available on the App Store and on Google Play.

Ada Gindin (‘20)

How the competition works: The way the competitions work is that in each round, there are 2 sides, red and blue, and 2 teams on each side. The arrangement of teams and sides switch with each round so that each school is paired with a new

group and is on a different color each round. Every year there is a new goal to accomplish with the robots in each round; this year the goal is to move specific objects into a designated spot in the competing area and to be able to have your robot lower itself from an elevated position autonomously (meaning by itself) with its coding/programing. For each object correctly placed, points are awarded to that side (meaning that both teams on that side benefit from the points). Each time that a robot is able to lower itself from its elevated point, that side also receives additional points. At the end of each competition, each team’s points are tallied and at the end of all the local competitions, the teams with the highest scores can qualify to go to the final tournament. This year’s final tournament takes place February 18, 2019 at the ILT - Interleague tournament at the Aerospace Academy

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