Clubs take their competition on the road

Hamilton-Wenham offers a variety of extracurricular activities for students, some of which face off against other schools. Recently three groups, DECA, the theater club, and the robotics team traveled outside of school to compete. 


Hamilton-Wenham DECA members at the State Career Development Conference. (Laura Wheeler)

DECA State Career Development Conference

On March 10 to March 12, seventy-two Hamilton-Wenham DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) competitors traveled to the Prudential Center in downtown Boston to participate in the state level of competition. There were over three thousand students who attended the State Career Development Conference (SCDC) from several schools across the state of Massachusetts.

The conference was a huge success for Hamilton-Wenham. Ten competitors received a top score trophy indicating their advancement to the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta; nineteen competitors earned a medallion as a state finalist, and nine competitors received medallions for high scores on the comprehensive test taken before the event. Click here for the state level results.

There are over fifty categories at the DECA competitive high school level. Hamilton-Wenham students participated in role-play categories while three groups competed in the written project categories. 

A role-play can either be done individually or with two people. All role play competitors take a timed 100 question multiple choice comprehensive exam two weeks before the conference and their scores become a portion of their overall placing score. At the state competition, they have two role-play slots. where they have time to prepare with the given scenario and then have ten minutes to present in front of a judge. 

Written projects have a specific topic according to whatever category they chose before districts and have time between districts and states to edit their papers and create a presentation to present in front of their judge. Most written project categories do not require an exam prior to the competition. The papers have a maximum of 20 pages as a limit and have up to ten minutes for the presentation portion.

At the end of April, ICDC qualifiers will travel to Atlanta, Georgia to compete against schools from all across the country. The goal at ICDC is to earn glass, the highest trophy in the competition. 


The cast and crew of the Oregon Trail at Drama Festival. (Annalee Messina)

Drama Festival

On March 19th roughly 100 schools competed in the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild’s High School Drama Festival. Hamilton-Wenham competed locally against five other schools at Beverly Middle School. Twenty-one students from Hamilton-Wenham performed a cutting of The Oregon Trail by Bekah Brunstetter.

At the Drama Festival each school performs a 40-minute one-act play for a group of judges. A week before the show students are given seventy-five minutes at the host school to set up their lighting cues and other technical elements. 

The day of the show, schools bring their set to the host site and are given five minutes before their performance to set it up, and five minutes to tear it down. Each play has to be under forty minutes. If the school is unable to meet that criteria they may be disqualified from the competition. Three schools advanced from the preliminary round. Usually there are three rounds (preliminary, semi-finals, and states). This year, in part due to COVID, there are only two rounds. 

Hamilton-Wenham did not advance, but six students received All Star Cast awards. Eve Gujral, Chloe Sacco, Olivia Jones, and Isabelle Tanch received an award for their performances as the Game Leader and the Game Chorus. Eugene Ahn was recognized for technical achievement in music and Jake Bassinger received an award for achievement in acting.


The Hamilton-Wenham robotics team poses with their robot at the district competition. (Maya Beach)

FIRST Robotics Competition

From March 18 to March 20, the Hamilton-Wenham robotics team attended the district competition of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics at Reading High School. Generals Robotics competed against 38 teams from other schools.

Before the competition, each team builds and writes the code for a semi-autonomous competitive machine, which is required to perform a set of tasks. Each year the tasks the robot needs to accomplish are different. 

This year the robots had to transport oversized tennis balls and shoot them into upper and lower hubs (similar to basketball nets) before hanging from and climbing a set of monkey bars. They had roughly two minutes to complete this task. The team earned points for the number of baskets made and for successfully climbing the monkey bars. 

For the first ten seconds, the robot must operate on its own through the code written by students, afterwards, it may be operated by a student controller. Each team competes in 13 matches, each match is about two minutes long.

The robotics club began to construct their robot, Sherman, in January. Hamilton-Wenham placed 27th out of the 39 schools that participated. The club will be attending another competition the weekend of March 26 in Revere.