We aren’t likely to forget our first competition…

28 Apr

My final thoughts and expressions of gratitude…

In the weeks leading up to the competition, the students failed to truly gel as a team. I was constantly reinforcing the ideas of dividing responsibilities, using supportive language, standing up for each other, and taking initiative in problem-solving. But nothing seemed to work. They were always waiting for someone else to do the work, for someone else to place the blame on, for someone else to take care of responsibilities. That all changed at the pool when competition forced their hand. They weren’t ready to be defeated. They were forced to either quit… or collaborate and problem-solve.

The students probably have only a vague understanding of how far they came and how much they accomplished together that day at the pool. But I know, I saw, that they experienced the amazing feeling that comes from working together to achieve goals.

You know that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child?”  Well…

We’d like to thank:

Dan, an engineer who came week after week and volunteered his time and expertise to both the kids and me  ♥ Hero 

Jen, an amazingly patient chaperon who came along to the competition with no idea of what to expect and managed to save the day… twice  Hero 

Pop-Pop, a very sweet grandfather who offered both his love and support to the team by coming with us, not to mention his vehicle for a ride back to campus for the spare thrusters to help save the day…  Hero ♥

The family members who came out to support us and those who cheered us from afar and sent us positive thoughts from their workplaces

Nestor, a busy Drexel student mentor who managed to squeeze in a couple of visits between classes and exams

Cara, a community member from the neighborhood who generously volunteered time and support… just because she wanted to and could.

 iPraxis , a non-profit group that helps schools to connect with volunteers in the science community and who helped me connect with Dan and Cara

Our residential advisors who got kids to the meetings in the evenings each week and helped to reinforce the importance of commitment to a team

Our fifth and sixth grade teachers who rearranged schedules and volunteered their class time to allow for pulling select students during the school day when it came down to “crunch time”

Ciara, a life guard and high-school senior who kept us safe during pool tests

Marc, our campus electrical guru who managed to hunt down and order hard-t0-find microfuses

Michael, my supportive fiance who helped me work through tutorials and to build a SeaPerch frame before starting the process with the kids

Alex and Austin, friends with math and engineering expertise who gave advice  and made suggestions  (and kept me company on shopping trips to Home Depot)

Administrators who were willing to  support a pilot program and all the craziness that comes along with first year implementation

http://www.nationalroboticsweek.org/ and http://seaperch.org/index for providing us with 10 free Seaperch kits and professional support!

The folks at the Drexel Seaperch Program, the folks from the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and the Atlantic Rangers Scuba Club who  planned, hosted, or volunteered for our Philadelphia regional SeaPerch event. The Drexel engineering students at the triage table were amazingly patient and compassionate when working with my students, and the judges and divers did everything they could to make the experience a positive and successful for one for them.

Oh yes… and of course… Steve… our trusty SeaPerch ROV.


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2 Responses to “We aren’t likely to forget our first competition…”

  1. Daniele Tedesco May 6, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    Stephanie,

    You did a great job on this competition and I was very happy to help. I learned as much as I taugh during this experience. It was a ton of fun. Keep spreading the word about engineering. Engineers have the most exciting and most important jobs (second to teachers). We keep the world turning.

    I look forward to helping out again.

    • missgreer May 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

      Thanks Dan! I’ll keep spreading the word about engineering and you keep spreading the word about teachers. Volunteers like you help to empower and inspire teachers like me. 😉

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