Newton's Robotic's Team at the Fair, Welcomes Sen Cory Booker, Continues Ties with Picatinny Arsenal

Newton High School Robotics Team Aperture at Sussex County Fair 2017 Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Newton High School Robotics Team Aperture at Sussex County Fair 2017 Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Sen. Cory Booker walked with the team and talked with Picatinny Arsenal Edward Petersen Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Newton High School Robotics Team Aperture at Sussex County Fair 2017 Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Aperture's training robot Jane Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Cory Booker takes a selfie with members of Aperture Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Newton High School Robotics Team Aperture at Sussex County Fair 2017 Credits: Jennifer Dericks

AUGUSTA, NJ – It’s that time of year; Sussex County Fair time.  Once again the Newton High School FIRST Robotics team Aperture had a VIP visit their shed at the fairground.  Senator Corey Booker took time to walk down to Aperture’s fair home on Saturday afternoon.

Aperture’s Administrative Manager Katie Nelson gave Booker a binder about the team’s recent season of FIRST competitions.  At the 2917 FIRST Championship they earned the Underwriter’s Laboratory Industrial Safety Award.

Once he got to the Aperture shed Booker took a selfie with some of the team members, a tradition with the team.  The Booker photo will be added to those the team has with Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, Senator Steve Oroho, US Congressman Scott Garrett and Newton Board of Education President Stella Dunn, all visitors from past years.

Sign Up for E-News

The team members had a moment to talk with Booker about their success at the 2017 FIRST Championship and the Newton program. The team spoke with the senator about their recent successful efforts lobbying Oroho to allow high school robotics teams to earn varsity status. He was shown the features of the new shed and introduced to Jane the training robot.  Before leaving Booker took a team photo in front of the team’s shed with all of the Aperature team members, coaches and advisors.

Booker spoke with Picatinny Arsenal STEM Outreach Manager Ed Petersen about the team and the STEM initiatives at Newton High School and the arsenal.  Petersen thanked Booker for a letter written to Richard Eastman, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army which was passed on to the Secretary and read into the record of the U.S. Senate. 

The letter found its way back to Senior Commander Picatinny Arsenal Brig. Gen. Alfred Abramson III  through Booker’s Constituent Assistant Emma Corrado. Petersen complemented Booker’s staff for “their professionalism in the way the whole thing was handled.” 

The letter came after Eastman had arranged a field trip to the arsenal for Newark school children.  In the letter titled “Inspiring Scientists and Engineers of Tomorrow,” Booker said, “Picatinny Arsenal’s STEM Education Program has committed itself to elevating the next generation of military and civilian leaders in the STEM fields through workshops and facility tours that teach young people about interactive technologies, 3D printing and remote weapon equipment. With your continuous outreach to you people exploring their passions in the critical fields of tomorrow. Picatinny has shown that it is a vital neighbor for New Jerseyans.”

Aperture has strong ties with the Picatinny Arsenal STEM program.  Not only does the arsenal help to provide funds to the team, they also have a mentor who is an engineer at the base.  Picatinny requires any program seeking funds to get a Picatinny Engineer to work with their team. 

This proved to be easy for Newton as team member Cassandra Yauch’s mother Stacey is an engineer at the arsenal.  Cassie first attended STEM camp at the installation, where she met Newton coach Jim Hoffman.  Hoffman is an instructor in the STEM summer camp program at the arsenal.  Hoffman asked her to join Aperture. 

“My mom is the reason I got on the team,” the younger Yauch said.

Cassie was a student at Kittatinny High School but they did not have a robotics team so she joined Newton’s. Joining Aperature as a sophomore Yauch established the Kid’s Come FIRST program, bringing robotics to elementary school students.  When she graduated, Newton High School student and Aperture’s Visual Arts coordinator Caitlin Bailey picked up the reins.

“I specifically asked for it to be passed on to Caitlin,” Yauch said.  Yauch explained that Bailey has a talent for creating visual presentations that work well with will the young students. 

Youch returns each summer to continue as full-time intern at Picatinny Arsenal.  She is a Motivational Coach at the STEM camp.

“Cassie is the reason we created the position,” Petersen said. “Because she was such an impressive student she was one of three selected in the first group.  She represents why we started the program.  The labs where she works (as a summer intern) have nothing but praise for her.”

Yauch interns in the Manufacturing area where she works on the 3D printers. She will be starting her junior year at Virginia Tech in a few weeks where she is pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Engineering.

“She’s my secret weapon,” Hoffman said.

The Aperture students, along with other invited guest robotics teams will be at the fair all week. They enjoy speaking with families and children, demonstrating their robots, showing off the team’s shed

 “We like to introduce robotic to people, especially if they don’t have a team at their school,” recent Newton graduate and team co-captain and Public Relations Coordinator Liam Oakes said to Booker. “We hope that gets them to ask for a team.”


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police: Speeding Stop Nets Drug Charges for Two Brooklyn Men

June 19, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Two men from Brooklyn, New York stopped for speeding are facing drug charges.  On June 16 around 11 a.m. Sparta Police Officer Thomas Herd pulled over a grey Toyota Rav4 driven by David Mai, 20 going 95 MPH in a 55 MPH zone, police said.

When Herd spoke with the Mai, the officer smelled marijuana in the car. Mai said he had pot in his backpack.  Sparta Police ...

Sparta Police: Wanted Sparta Man Stopped for Speeding

SPARTA, NJ — A Sparta resident was picked up on an active warrant after getting stopped for speeding on Route 181. On June 16 around 1:35 a.m. Cpl. Marc Rubino stopped John Clark, 51 in his black Ford pickup driving 60 in a 45 MPH zone, police report.

Clark was not able to show the officer his license but gave his personal information. Rubino found Clark’s license had expired and ...

Sparta Police: Wanted Man Picked Up in Speeding Stop, Gets Drug Charges

SPARTA, NJ — A Newark man was picked up when the car in which he was riding was stopped for speeding. On June 8 around 11:50 a.m. Sparta Police Officer Thomas Herd pulled over Tashiana Martin, 27, of West Orange for speeding, police report.

When Herd spoke with Martin he smelled marijuana in the car. Herd also saw that passenger Ibenabdul Harden, 28, was not wearing a seat belt. When the ...

The Power of Positive Engagement

June 17, 2018

To the Editor:

I wanted to share this letter from Laurie Beacham, Media Director for NJ 11th for Change, about the notable increase in voter turnout and citizens deciding to run in the recent primary election:

"The 11th Congressional District has a lot to be proud of. In the June 5th primaries, voter turnout climbed from almost 33,000 in 2014 to over 86,000. Democratic ...

Again, Oroho, Space and Wirths Get It Wrong

On Wednesday, June 13th, a series of gun violence prevention bills were signed into law by Governor Murphy. These bills will strengthen our already strong gun laws in New Jersey and none of these new laws infringe on anyone’s right to keep and bear arms.   

Unfortunately, Senator Oroho and Assemblymen, Space and Wirths our Legislative District 24 representatives voted NO to a ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, June 21, 2:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Summer Afternoon Garden Soiree

Home & Garden


Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

CASA of Morris and Sussex Counties, Morristown

CASA Information Session

Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Mon, June 25, 5:30 PM

Mohawk Avenue School, Sparta

Sparta Board of Education Meeting UPDATED



Sat, June 30, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market


Sat, July 7, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market


Sun, July 8, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Sussex County Views: The Art of Toni Chaplin

Home & Garden


Sun, July 8, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Sussex County Views: The Art of Toni Chaplin

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, July 14, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sussex Stags Football Team to Hold Fourth Annual Golf Outing

June 16, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—The Sussex County Stags will be holding their fourth annual gold outing on Saturday June 23.

Arrival time is 11:30 a.m. at the Minebrook Golf Club located at 500 Schooleys Mountain Road in Hackettstown. Golfing will begin at 1 p.m. and tickets can be purchased online at

Tickets are $125 per person and include the following: golfing, the cart, an all you ...

Update: Police Break Up Fight Involving 40-50 People at Bridgewater Commons Mall

June 15, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — No injuries have been reported in an incident that shut down Bridgewater Commons Mall Thursday evening after a fight involving a crowd of 40-50 people.

Police are still investigating unconfirmed reports of shots being fired, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.

The mall is closed for the evening as the investigation continues.

Somerset County ...

Why Buying a Home is Better Than Renting

People often ask if now is a good time to buy a home in New Jersey, but nobody ever asks whether or not it’s a good time to rent. Regardless, Team Nest Builder wants to make certain that everyone understands that now is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their 2018 first quarter median rent numbers. This graph from their report shows rent increases from 1988 ...

5 Fab Father's Day Happenings in Sussex & Morris Counties

Father’s Day hits this Sunday--what do YOU have planned? Team Nest Builder offers a slew of Father’s Day fun in Morris and Sussex County. Read on and surprise Dad with cool activities! (Be sure to check if registration is required prior to showing up!)

Alstede Farms' Father's Day Brunch – Chester

From 9am-noon, take a scenic hayride to a brunch buffet that offers ...

Don't Miss Sunday's OPEN HOUSE for 4BR Sparta Mountain Beauty

Perched handsomely on an acre in the beautiful SpartaMountain community, 28 Waters Edgeoffers a 4BR 2.5 Bathroom home with space and style. Come see for yourself this Sunday, June 17th, from 1-3pm at our OPEN HOUSE!

Located in the prestigious Sparta Mountain Reserve, this large, beautiful center hall colonial with open floor plan has a nice, level play yard with direct ...

Days on The Housing Market Drops to New Low

According to recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median number of days that a home spent on the market hit a new low of 26 days in April, as 57% of homes remained on the market for under a month.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, opined,

“What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid pace. Since NAR began tracking this ...

Pass It Along Triathlon

Tri-something new this July and sign up for the Pass It Along Triathlon!

The 9th annual Pass It Along Triathlon will take place on Saturday, July 28, 2018, at the Lake Mohawk Country Club. This triathlon features two USAT-certified courses - Olympic and Sprint. This triathlon has become a Sparta tradition and everyone is welcome to attend to cheer on athletes and be a part of the ...

Welcome to the Pass It Along Column!

This is the first in a weekly series of columns which will focus on news, events, announcements, and opportunities from Pass It Along. Please check back next week to see what’s happening!

Welcome to Pass It Along's TAPinto column! We are so excited to partner with TAPinto Sparta to share news, highlights and opportunities with you to get involved with Pass It Along!

What is ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

June 13 Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting

NEWTON, NJ - The June 13 Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting video.


Summer Hockey Programs at Skylands: 3v3, U8 and Beginner Hockey Camp

June 19, 2018

Skylands U8 Cross Ice Challenge League

Skylands Cross Ice Challenge League is an intermediate league for kids ages 8 and under. Emphasis on fun, skill progression, and player development, it de-emphasizes stressful, high-pressure, game scenarios and ultra-competitive play. It's focus is more on individual skating, player skills & puck touches
One practice per week ...