Peace of Pi

Dax Penney ’21 envisions low-cost computers for the resettled refugee community

Junior Dax Penney’s interest in computers, programming, and robotics was sparked by his experiences as a sixth-grader attending Waynflete summer camp. It was here where he first encountered open-source components and microcontrollers like the Raspberry Pi.

In the world of computing, the Pi is a blank slate. The compact, low-cost device can load any number of operating systems from a standard SD card, which also serves as the computer’s internal memory. It was developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a United Kingdom-based charity. According to its website, the foundation seeks to help more people harness the power of computing and digital technologies for project work, to solve problems that matter to them, and to express themselves creatively. “The Pi is a malleable platform,” says Dax. “I realized that it had a lot of potential.”

At the time, Dax was also involved with a Catholic Charities initiative called The Backpack Project, which raised funds to purchase school supplies for recently resettled refugees in Portland. He recalls attending an event where a father from Anbar Province, Iraq, described the impact of the Catholic Charities initiative on his family. “His comments really spoke to me,” Dax recalls. In his freshman year at Waynflete, Dax’s mother suggested that he consider how he might use his computer skills to help others.

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Waynflete Wins Maine Science Bowl

On March 7, two teams of Upper School students competed against 20 schools from around Maine—including neighbors Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, and Yarmouth—in the Maine Regional Science Bowl Competition. The tournament is a round robin-style STEM trivia competition and is sponsored by the Department of Energy. Question categories include Earth and Space Science, Biology, Chemistry, Math, Physics, and Energy.  

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Waynflete hosts regional math meet

On March 4, 125 students from nine area high schools assembled at Waynflete for the Pi-Cone South “Portland Large” divisional math meet—the fifth meet of the year and the third time that the school has hosted in the past four years.

Waynflete “mathletes” have participated in Maine Association of Math League meets for the past decade. This year, teacher David Neilan served as emcee; Lisa Kramer, Drew Dubuque, and Steve Withers fulfilled the roles of steely-eyed proctors; and Jim Deterding stepped in as team coach and scorer. Tom Campbell was the meet director. As in previous years, Waynflete student volunteers served as hosts and runners.

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