Posts Tagged ‘Rolla High School’

The Good, the Bad, but not the Ugly

First, the Bad News: Rolla High School’s football team has yet to win a game this season.  Their record so far is 0 wins, 6 losses.  I can only imagine the pain the team feels at this turn out of their season thus far.  Practices since August, some players lifting weights all summer in preparation to play well, and  no wins to show for all of their hard work.   My husband knows this kind of pain and disappointment.  When we were seniors at Defiance Highschool in Defiance, Ohio,( ironically our highschool was also the home of the Bulldogs,  just like at  Rolla High.) The football team went 0-10 for the 1982-83 school year.   I was thinking about that football season driving home after Rolla’s latest loss last Friday night.  I asked my husband if any lessons were learned from that experience and he said,” Yeah, how to lose!”  RHS Bulldog 2

Despite the disappointing football season, I have noticed a remarkable phenomena.  The home games have been packed.  Parents of the players, friends, relatives, fellow RHS students, all decked out in maroon and white t-shirts, or now, jackets as the temps are getting cooler at night, fill up the stadium.  One would think that with the record that has been amassed so far, the stadium would only have the visiting teams fans sitting there and crickets chirping where the Rolla folks sit.  But surprisingly, and in a moving way, the Rolla faithful have turned out for every home game and pack that stadium.    RHS football

Any lessons that can be learned from all of this?  The main lesson I can see is that no matter how disagreeable or disappointing an event can be, if one has signed up to take a part in that event, one must soldier on and do one’s best.  Don’t run away from one’s responsibility.  The coaches and players committed to having a football team this school year, and must keep on trying.  Life is hard and full of bumps along the way, and learning to survive and persevere, well it is better to learn it on a football field at the ages of 14-18 then to have to learn it at the age of 30.  Despite the losing Defiance High football team in 1982-83 school year, that same program went on to win the state championship in Ohio  for AA schools in 1997.

Now for some  Good News:  This Saturday, Oct. 19, beginning at 2:00 pm is the Route 66 Marching Band Festival.  Rolla High’s Marching Bulldog Brigade is hosting this  event at the football stadium.  12 area high school bands will be marching and performing their absolute best marching, musical shows.  The bands attending are from the following towns: Eureka, Fulton, Hermann, Houston, Owensville, Salem, School of Osage, St. James, Warsaw, Washington, Waynesville, and Union.  With Rolla having a new, artificial turf football field installed this summer, this Route 66 Marching Band Festival can once again be held.  For a wonderful afternoon and early evening full of bands doing what they do best, be sure to attend the Route 66 Marching Band  Festival!  RHS Band

Robotics- A New Experience

English: Panteras FIRST Robotics team wins the...

English: Panteras FIRST Robotics team wins the Chairman’s award in the Dallas Regional sponsored by JCPenney Español: El equipo de robótica FIRST “Panteras” gana el Chairman’s Award en el regional de Dallas patrocinado por JCPenney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Older logo from website

Older logo from website (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Robotics Club at Cañada College i...

English: The Robotics Club at Cañada College is popular with science and math majors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I walked into the Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose building this past Saturday at 7:20 am to begin my volunteering stint at the  FRC Robotics State Finals Competition, for the state of Missouri.  Our son, who is a junior at Rolla High School,  is   a member of one of the two teams from the high school that had successfully made it to this level of competition.  There was a buzz in the air, as bright-eyed, wide awake high schoolers, and a few junior highers, were gathering in a gym, placing their robots on team assigned tables, chatting with each other and looking over the competition.  Those kids were a lot more awake than I was feeling;Saturdays are the one day I can sleep in, perhaps to 8:00, if I am lucky!  After getting my name tag, an FRC t-shirt( all volunteers wore one), and my green lunch ticket with MS&T’s mascot Joe Minor stamped on it, I found my son and his team, wished them luck, and then found the gentleman who was in charge of queuing.  With 3 hours to pass before I had to actually begin my queuing job, I pulled out my library book and got some reading done.  As a busy mom of 7, 5 still in the home nest, to be able to just sit and read a book, uninterrupted, is a treasure!!

At 10:15, I was joined by two other ladies, and one engineering student from the university who had agreed to volunteer for the event.  One of his professors, as it turned out, was instrumental in lining up volunteers from the Rolla area to work at the competition.  After our training session was done, we had another hour and 15 minutes to wait before we would actually have teams to queue.  We queuers each had one of 3 tables, with a Field number on it.  I and the college student were at Field Table  2.  In front of each table, about 20 yards away, was a “pit”.  A pit, at a Robotics competition is where the robots will move around, trying to do a task in a 3 minute window of time.  Whichever teams’  robots do the best at the task will earn points.  Also, two robot teams would be going against two other teams for this part of the competiton.  As a queuer, my job was to make sure that the  4 teams scheduled for specific matches at specific times were at my table.   Two of the teams would be assigned to the Blue controllers side of the pit and two would be assigned to the red controllers side.   For this year’s competition, racks had been made out of pvc pipes, and robots had to manuever around the pit and take off of holding racks plastic rings, in either red or blue colors, and then  transfer the rings to a new center rack.   Robots had to work as quickly as possible, and could block opponents robots in the quest to get the most rings onto the center rack.

Most of the teams had catchy names.  Instead of calling themselves the Tigers, or Bulldogs, or Wolves, as most of their high schools’ mascots were probably named, Robotics teams aim for clever titles, associated with machines.  My son’s team’s name is the Maniacal Mechanics.   Another team I remembered from another competition called themselves Blood, Sweat, and Gears!   Teams also like to jazz up their appearances by wearing matching t-shirts with their team name emblazoned on the front and  community sponsors on the back.  One team on Saturday decided to dress up, wearing gray dress shirts, black ties, and black dress slacks.  They queued up at my table and I told them they got my vote for the best-dressed team, if such an award existed!  Some parents came with posters and pom-poms to cheer on their favorite teams.  Seeing the parents all excited and revved up to cheer got me to thinking, that if schools have booster clubs to support their sports teams, they really ought to have booster clubs to support Academic teams, like  Robotics teams.  The robots for these competions are made by the Legos Company,  the same company that makes the Legos toys, and these robots aren’t cheap.  Add to that  the cost of traveling to the competitions, and some teams have to also pay for hotel accommodations if they have traveled in from far away, plus meals for the teams.    Civic groups and businesses should be asked to support such Academic Clubs hosted by their area high schools, as the clubs boost learning for their student members, and reflect well on a community-education relationship.  If a community isn’t caring about what happens with their local school district, then a part of that positive factor in having successful schools in a community can be neglected and lost.

Our son surprised us when he asked if he could join the Robotics Club at Rolla High School this past Fall.  He is a bit quieter than his older siblings and younger siblings, so we were quick to say that he could join this club.  Our son has not only made some new friends, but he has learned to work within a group, to increase his skills in fixing mechanical problems with machines, and to work out through  trial and error the problems that come with building a robot and getting it to do what it must do to be successful at a competition.    Not knowing much about the club at first,  he did enjoy attending the  twice a week meetings, he did enjoy his task of team mechanic, and he didn’t mind the  usually 2 hours time slot that meetings took up.

In summing up, I marveled at the smarts of all the kids on these Robotics Teams that competed on Saturday.  I was impressed by their camaderie when it came to time to meet their alliance red or blue team when they would queue up at my table.  I was impressed with the adult sponsors of the teams who would stay nearby in case their teams needed help, or had questions.  I was also impressed with the FRC organization who was in charge of the entire day.  FRC stands for First Robotics Competition and it was begun by Mr. Dean Kamen in 1989 as a way to encourage and inspire young people to discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology.  From setting up the three pits, the queueing tables, the volunteer room that served us breakfast and lunch, and even the background music, it was a very well-managed event and I was glad to have volunteered for it.  In fact, I would be glad to help out next year, as I think another competition will be held at MS&T.   A day spent around high schoolers  who were enjoying themselves and the activity surrounding the competition was a day well spent,  for me.

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