We won our first international award!

by Liam Oakes

The Newton Robotics Team had their “best season of all time” after returning home in April from the 2017 FIRST Robotics Championship with the UL Industrial Safety Award.

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This is the fourth time that the team has competed in the world championship since it was founded in 2009. They competed against more than 400 other teams internationally in the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri on April 27-28.

Kathryn Van Orden and Carter Boyd, both seniors, presented the team’s safety program to judges, while the rest of team continued to maintain safety standards and protocols.

After the team heard that they were the recipients of the Industrial Safety Award out of 138 teams in two out of the six divisions, the judges said that the students on the team “were in tears.” Aperture received a trophy and plaque as part of their recognition.

While Aperture headed on their way back home to Newton on Sunday morning, waiting at the Andover Borough Fire Station were several fire trucks, emergency medical service vehicles, and police officers ready to escort the team back to Newton High School from their victory.

“I can think of no other team in our school’s history that has earned international recognition,” said Jeff Waldron, NHS Principal. According to Waldron,  this is the first time that a team from the school has earned an international award.

Two-time Engineering Inspiration Award Winners

by Derek Ravshanov

The Engineering Inspiration Award, as described by FIRST’s website, celebrates “outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school or organization and community.”

The Newton Robotics Team won this award through their extended outreach events at the Bridgewater-Raritan regional event and the Lehigh University district championships.

The team had what was called the Kids Come FIRST Table, which engaged children with activities that the team had prepared, such as coloring sheets along with a bin full of crayons. The team also made appearances at the State Fair and Newton Day, reinforcing their presence in the community in accordance with the requirements for the award.

They also had a Green Cleanup Day, where they collected and properly disposed of litter, doing a favor by cleaning up the community.

All of this together greatly assisted in the team being considered and chosen for the award. Team 3142 Aperture went in a single-file line on the field twice during two separate events to receive high fives and to take a picture with the awards.

Aperture competes in St. Louis

by Derek Ravshanov

After succeeding at local events, Team 3142 Aperture embarked on a eighteen-hour long ride to St. Louis, Missouri. The team went to the Dome at America’s Center, along with 400 other teams, to compete at the FIRST World Championship.

Throughout the competition, the students met with many other students from several different countries. This year, the international competition was split into two separate locations at two separate weeks. Half of all teams went to a competition depending on their location.

There was also the Innovation Faire, where a multitude of workshops and seminars touching on a broad range of subjects took place.

The team placed 53rd out of 68 teams in their division.

Waiting back home at Newton was an escort of the first responders, who joined them back to the high school where those who had stayed welcomed the returning students, including families, friends, and the principal, Mr. Waldron.

Varsity is NOW FOR ALL in NJ!

by Liam Oakes

The S-2398 Legislation, a bill that would require all public schools in New Jersey to adopt a policy that allows for all academic teams to obtain a varsity status, was recently passed into law and signed by Governor Chris Christie in early May.

Robotics teams from all public New Jersey high schools will now be able to gain recognition for their work.

Team 3142 “Aperture” and Team 1676 “Pascack Pi-oneers” worked collaboratively with local legislators, including Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Assemblyman Troy Singleton, Assemblyman Parker Space, and Senator Steve Oroho.

Last August, Aperture met with Oroho at his office to discuss an action plan that would push the proposed legislation to be passed.

Newton Robotics was the first public school robotics team in New Jersey to attain a varsity status in 2012. Currently New Jersey, Connecticut, Minnesota, Texas, and Arizona are the only states that permit their robotics teams a varsity status.

Community Recognition

by Derek Ravshanov

After their trip in April for the international championship, Team 3142 returned from the distant St. Louis to travel once again a few weeks later, this time to local Green Township on May 15 to be recognized for their success and efforts in expanding STEM academics for students grades five and up.

The Township Committee presented the team with a certificate of recognition at the Green Township Municipal Building.

A week later on May 22, the team was once again recognized by its own hometown, Newton. Present at the time was Mayor Diglio, along with the town council who presented the team with another certificate.

Student Testimonial

by Hunter Mitchell

Being on the Newton Robotics team has definitely had a positive influence on me.

I am planning on attending college for electronic technology engineering, and getting involved with my local robotics team in high school has already started my career path.

Participating in local competitions and the international St. Louis competition has helped me further my knowledge in this field of which I am passionate.

Overall, being in robotics has really helped me learn more about teamwork. It is a great way to meet new friends that share some of the same interests.

Green Township Clean-Up Day

by the Newton Robotics Team

On Earth Day, the Newton Robotics Team participated in the annual Green Township Clean-up Day. Several team members volunteered to clean up Yellowframe Road on the rainy Saturday morning.

Newton Robotics Team continues to hold up a green thumb for their communities after the “Recycle Rush” competition in 2015. The team also believes in giving back to the community, as their continuous support and generosity has helped the team carry out its success.

Honored by a Brigadier-General

by Liam Oakes

On Wednesday, June 7, Brigadier General Alfred F. Abramson III paid a visit to Newton High School on Palmer Field.

On the warm, breezy day the entire student body respectfully sat on the bleachers and listened to Col (Ret) Edward E. Peterson introduce himself with a short speech on STEM opportunities.

Abramson then greeted Newton High School and proceeded to recognize the Newton Robotics Team for earning the UL Industrial Safety Award in the St. Louis FIRST Robotics Championship in April and for their immense amount of influence and sustainability for S.T.E.M. education. The team presented to him a plaque as well as a few other gifts to honor their eight-year successful relationship with Picatinny Arsenal’s ARDEC in helping promote STEM education to students. Students in the bleachers applauded and cheered for their peers on their success, while the famous Newton High School quote, “It’s a great day to be a Brave,” was expressed the rest of the day.


by Derek Ravshanov​​​​​​​


Accompanying this sound were many others at the Sussex County Pet Expo on May 13. Along with the many dogs were cats, parrots, and even a raccoon.

On the rainy Saturday, the Newton Robotics team demonstrated their robot, Tobor Stephenson, while selling homemade treats for household pets, baked by mentors Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Yauch. Team members administered the table, managed sales, and answered questions about the team and the robot.

This year, the Pet Expo took place at Skylands Stadium in Augusta and was organized by the NJ Herald.

The table neighboring the Robotics Team that was managed by the NJ Herald had an announcer to showcase the different animals released from their units for the watching crowd to view, some of them even infants. Some could literally fit in the palm of a hand, others were much larger.

Despite the weather, the event went on smoothly.

Internship at Thorlabs

by the Newton Robotics Team

Four students from Team Aperture have decided to take on the challenge of programming and website building at Thorlabs, one of the team’s gracious, primary sponsors.

Thorlabs is a photonics company located in Newton and several other parts of the world.

The interns are participating in a special project coordinated by the company’s web team, in where the interns must learn how to code and apply it to building a website from scratch.

Brian Hoskins, former student and now a Newton Robotics mentor, expressed that “this is a great opportunity for us to experience the working world and to expand upon our current knowledge.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2017!

Seven of Team Aperture's members recently graduated from Newton High School on June 19, 2017. Congratulations to the following students:

  • Carter Boyd
  • Brian Hoskins
  • Maddie Mitchell
  • Katie Nelson
  • Liam Oakes
  • Katy Van Orden
  • Victoria Viersma