Ballard High bots battle it out


(Photo: Pacific Science Center)

More than 40 teams from high schools around the state — including our own Ballard HS — gathered at the Pacific Science Center on Sunday for a battle of the bots.

The Special Olympics Unified Robotics Championship, a partnership between kids with and without disabilities, featured four teams from Ballard. The students designed, built and programmed their robots over six weeks prior to the competition.

The robots’ names: Bulldozer 2.0, Ava2400, A Pair of Sox and Slicer and Dicer. The goal: to push the competing robot out of the circle. Here’s a video of Bulldozer 2.0 in a match:

A Pair of Sox made it into the semi-finals and lost to… The Purple Robot Eater.

The Ballard team took home two “Rising Star” awards as well as accolades for perseverance and sportsmanship. Well done!

Ballard High’s documentary for IMAX gets big screen premiere

Back in June, Ballard High’s short documentary, On the Backs of Salmon, was released by IMAX online. This Thursday evening, the documentary premieres on the big screen at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center IMAX theater.

“Can you believe it?” said the Ballard High film program’s Matt Lawrence. “My students are walking on air.”

On the Backs of Salmon tells the story behind the largest dam removal in world history – the Elwha on the Olympic Peninsula. Ballard was one of five high school filmmaking programs to be selected by IMAX and the United Nations to win a $5,000 grant to product the documentary.

Thursday’s screening will be shown at a private, members-only event, but IMAX reserved 75 seats for the Ballard filmmakers “and their entourage.”

Lawrence said one of his students explains the premiere this way: “Film doesn’t get any bigger than IMAX!”

Ballard football is back with big Eastside win

Ballard High School has won just a handful of games over the last few years, but the Beavers came away with a huge win Friday night on their season opener. The Beavers beat Eastside powerhouse Samammish in overtime, 34-27.

It’s coach Joey Thomas’ first game at Ballard and one to remember. A Seattle native, Thomas played five years in the NFL for the Saints, Cowboys, Packers and Raiders (earlier story). Congrats, Beavers!

Ballard HS boys basketball heading to State

The Ballard boys basketball players beat Newport last night, 50-46, earning the right to head to the state tournament for the first time since 2002. Think that’s exciting? Just watch this video of the end of the game:

“Ballard’s not known for state berths, except in football, so the student body was pretty excited. They were behind us,” Ballard guard Brad Baker told the Seattle Times after the win. You can see photos posted on the team site here.

Ballard will face Garfield this coming Friday in the KingCo Championship Game at Juanita High School, 8:15 p.m. Go Beavers!

Big turnout at Ballard High music fundraiser

A couple hundred people attended the Ballard High School Music Department‘s annual spaghetti dinner and fundraiser Saturday evening.

All of Ballard High’s instrumental and vocal groups performed for the crowd, including the orchestra and concert choir.

Both those groups have been invited to perform in New York this spring — the concert choir at Lincoln Center and the orchestra at the historic Riverside Church. Saturday’s dinner will help all the groups in their various activities.

Ballard High School warns of possible scam

Ballard High School says they’ve received several calls in the last few days from neighbors and businesses asking about a donation drive for a sports calendar. BHS says someone — or a group of people — are claiming to be students and calling around soliciting donations for the calendar, but it appears to be a scam. Kristina Anderson, the Athletic Director and Activity Director at Ballard High School, sent us an email with details:

They are asking for credit card numbers or check routing numbers. No such fundraiser is currently happening in this manner. Another neighbor just reported that she was approached today at her door by someone “who looked much older than a high school student” asking for a donation for a fundraiser to clean up 15th Ave NW. When she refused to donate he left in a very rude and inappropriate manner calling her some choice names. This is all a scam. Do not give these people any information.

If Ballard HS students or family members are engaged in any fundraising efforts on behalf of the school, they should be properly identifying themselves and be able to provide literature as to their cause. Please do not give any type of donation to anyone who looks suspicious or cannot produce additional information when prompted. Feel free to call the school with any concerns or questions.