Education

Newton High School FIRST Robotics Gets a Permanent Home at Sussex County Fair

df9a41248b82717189a9_2016_ribbon_cutting_at_Fair_day_2__1_.JPG
Newton High School FIRST robotics team cutting the ribbon to open their new home at the Sussex County Fair
987af295b1b17eaf82d5_Mira_Plastics_with_3142_-1.JPG
7db0aae851e12c2a1411_Picatinny_cuts_ribbon_at_team_s_stem_barn.JPG
Picatinny Arsenel's STEM Education 
3dbf1780ed5349b95d21_Picatinny_with_team_3142-1.JPG
Newton's FIRST team with sponsor Picatinny Arsenal's STEM Education program
1bd82c59dd46343d5c6d_IMG_3882.JPG
Newton's FIRST team with sponsors Mira Plastics and Picatinny Arsenal Credits: Jennifer Dericks
d57e66138896cac9e952_IMG_3888.JPG
Credits: JENNIFER DERICKS
862c1d6a230c0a785120_IMG_3891.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
b0475cd8cbcedfdbd2d0_IMG_3892.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
3724f6c5a85d9b8ae85d_IMG_3894.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
d1549385e85822d40a92_IMG_3896.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
27efdb340ca3d034dfbb_IMG_3914.JPG
FIRST team members creating a gift for a special visitor on the 3D printer Credits: Jennier Dericks
e34000f0087a8133e535_IMG_3915.JPG
Inside the shed Credits: JENNIFER DERICKS
1b2858e590938ad4156f_IMG_3916.JPG
Items created by the team's 3D printer Credits: Jennifer Dericks
ef5899301d93b426c01f_IMG_3917.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
fa3e081b4859d96ef9ee_IMG_3922.JPG
Charging station Credits: Jennifer Dericks
25224ba1c58594a739ad_IMG_3925.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
78d92548d43299a2a3b6_IMG_3927.JPG
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
8ac2fb5a6964d9b8da68_IMG_3906.JPG
A young fair goers asks questions about the robot Credits: Jennifer Dericks
3da42a694c2f053a3043_2016-08-06_14.58.15.jpg
When the rain came everyone was able to take shelter in the new shed
d4efb20cf742d4e1e81c_2016-08-06_20.47.18.jpg
Newton High School's FIRST robotics shed at night
df9a41248b82717189a9_2016_ribbon_cutting_at_Fair_day_2__1_.JPG

BRANCHVILLE, NJ – The Newton High School FIRST robotics team Aperture now has a permanent home at the New Jersey State Fair. The students, coaches, mentors, supporters and sponsors were at the fair in Branchville on Saturday morning to show off their robots and the new shed they now call their own.

The team maintains a presence each year at the fair to “because we want to spread the message of FIRST, to introduce the rural communities of Sussex County,” according to Newton High School FIRST robotics team’s Business and Public Relations Leader Liam Oakes. 

FIRST Robotics is program that requires a full team of students with many different skills, not just building the robot. Some team members are dedicated to programing and building, while others find donors, create publicity, develop and monitor a safety plan, maintain a journal, mentor younger students and more. 

Sign Up for E-News

“Look around.  You see happy, energized teenagers,” said sponsor Mira Plastics’ Tina Miragliotta. “They are all different.  They all support each other.  That’s amazing.”

“Even business and public relations will be touched by STEM,” said Oakes. “We try to encourage people to see that we’re teaching them how to run in the 21 Century workforce.” 

“This program is the future of STEM;  jobs and manufacturing benefit, our economy benefits, our country benefits,” said Miragliotta.

ThorLabs and Mira Plastics donated funds for the team’s shed.  Tina and Anthony Miragliotta were at the fair on Saturday for the ribbon cutting ceremony. 

“In April coach Jim Hofmann stopped by to talk about the project.  Early in the discussion we came to the conclusion that we wanted to help,” said Tina Miragliotta.  “As soon as we heard about the conditions of safety concerns we were eager to help with the new shed.”

In the past the team was in a tent.  Their equipment, requiring a lot of electricity, was often exposed to unfavorable weather conditions.  “We love the new facility because it gives them a safe place to get out of the weather and a bigger platform to showcase what they do,” said Tina Miragliotta. 

“Just meeting him [Hofmann] you could read the excitement.  It is a breath of fresh air, in contrast to the things we hear in the news every day,” said Tina Miragliotta.

Another supporter of the Newton FIRST program, Picatinny Arsenal had people at the event on Saturday as well.  Ed Petersen, Program Manager of STEM Education and Maria C Gonzales the website designer and training coordinator were both at the fair for the ribbon cutting ceremony to support the students. 

“Newton was our first team.  The relationship has grown over the years,” said Petersen explaining that Picatinny Arsenal now sponsors 50 teams, 35 at the highest level.  “They keep getting better.  Jim Hofmann is a great mentor.” 

Petersen said Hofmann even serves as an instructor at Picatinny Arsenal at their STEM camp.  The arsenal’s support of STEM education has not gone unnoticed.  In June Picatinny’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center received bi-partisan congressional recognition as a “STEM Education Resource Center of Excellence.”

Petersen, Gonzales and engineer Shahram Dabiri comprise the group that interacts with schools throughout the region to support STEM education offering training and grants.  According to PIcatinny Arsenal’s literature “nearly 200 Picatinny scientists and engineers have volunteered to support STEM education by making over 1000 classroom visits, staffing over 100 educational field trips to Picatinny Arsenal’s really working laboratories, participating in the annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Open House, assisting nearly 800 teachers and inspiring 50,000 students in over 400 schools.”

“This is my dream job,” said Petersen. “After 32 years in the New Jersey public school system and retired from New Jersey National Guard I was recruited to work at Picatinny Arsenal in the research lab.  I did that for a couple of years and then this position opened up.”  Petersen appreciates convergence of his decades of experiences that brought him to this position.

Gonzales said she is “proud to be with the group being able to represent both Latin and female minorities in the STEM field.”  Petersen also points out that Gonzales is bi-lingual bringing an additional skill to the group.

Dabiri a bone-fide engineer “really relates to the students,” according to Petersen.

The team also looks to the future of their program.

 “Newton High School FIRST team members mentor younger students,” said Caitlin Bailey Visual Arts Leader, web designer and Kids Come FIRST leader. 

Their program runs from kindergarten through grade 12.  Newton and Green have a Junior FIRST Lego league for students ages six through nine.  Students nine to 14 participate in the FIRST Lego league.  Newton High School now participates in the FIRST Robotics Competition, the highest level.  It is also the costliest.

“Funding is always a big question, the biggest obstacle,” said Assistant Coach Darleen Nelson. 

The status of Andover’s JrFLL and FLL programs are in question due to funding, according to Nelson. 

Oakes said, “We are also trying to help other areas of the county and state and home schoolers get started.” 

This is the first of a two part artilce about Newton High School FIRST Robotics at the fair.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Newton

Plane Crashes into Lake Aeroflex in Sussex County Park

April 23, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—A one-maned plane crashed into Lake Aeroflex in Kittatinny Valley State Park around 11:30 this morning.

“I heard the plane cut out, then I saw it turn left and flatten out, and then it landed in the lake,” passerby Justin Leyman said. “It took the rescue crews about a minute or so to get the pilot out of the lake.

The plane was completely ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 29, 3:30 PM

Codey Arena, West Orange

Girls Try Hockey Free Clinic

Sports

Fri, May 4, 7:00 PM

Sparta Evangelical Free Church, Sparta

Veritas Christian Academy presents The Music Man

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_1d32c56f1d9651d97a4d_4571683b0fc541ec405e_360_x_300_image_for_website_posts_copy

Sun, May 6, 7:00 AM

Liberty State Park, Jersey City

11th Annual Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for ...

Health & Wellness

Sun, May 13, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

The Issue of Alternatives to Elected School Boards

April 14, 2018

The time of electing local school boards should come to an end. According to the National School Boards Association, “the local school board is a critical public link to public schools. Whether elected or appointed, school board members serve their communities in several important ways. First and foremost, school boards look out for students. Education is not a line item on the school ...

Buying a Home Is Cheaper Than Renting in Majority of US

Great news for first-time New Jersey home buyers! The results of the 2018 Rental Affordability Report from ATTOM show that buying a median-priced home is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in 54% of U.S. counties analyzed for the report.

The updated numbers show that renting a three-bedroom property in the United States requires an average of 38.8% of income.

The least ...

Home Buying Myths Slayed

Team Nest Builder wants YOU to know the truths about buying a New Jersey home!

Some Highlights:


The average down payment for first-time homebuyers is only 6%!


Despite mortgage interest rates being over 4%, rates are still below historic numbers.


88% of property managers raised their rents in the last 12 months!


The credit score requirements for mortgage ...

Buy A Home To Build Your Family's Wealth

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate, on average, by 3.6% per year and to grow by 18.2% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey. Team Nest Builder wants you to understand what that means for homeowners and their equity positions.

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home ...

Now’s the Time to Buy Your NJ Luxury Home

House no longer fits your needs? Planning on buying a New Jersey luxury home? Now is the time to do so!

Recently, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing released its Luxury Market Report which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.  The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds the number of people searching to purchase these ...

Buy a Home NOW Before Mortgage Rates Climb Higher

Whether you’re a buyer searching for your first home, or a homeowner looking to move up to your next home, Team Nest Builder knows you should pay attention to where mortgage interest rates are heading.

Over the course of 2018, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates increased from 3.95% in the first week of January to 4.40% in the first week of April.

At ...

6 Simple Decorating Tricks for Your NJ Home

Ever watched “Trading Spaces” and wondered, “How do they pull together a beautiful room so quickly?”  Team Nest Builder knows! Read on for these 6 simple decorating tricks from the newly relaunched “Trading Spaces” stars.  You’ll be amazed at what a difference they make in your New Jersey home!

Let Your Heart Choose Your Art

Laurie Smith ...

A Special Performance by The Mental Health Players Raises Awareness of Mental Health Issues

April 23, 2018

In recognition of National Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, NAMI Sussex and Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services are coming together to sponsor a special performance by The Mental Health Players. The Mental Health Players is a group of volunteer performers who use theatrical improvisation and role playing to bring the ...