Warren G. Harding High School, 860 Elm Road NE, Warren, Ohio 44483
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Proud Leader

Hey team. I just wanted to share with you how proud I am of team we’re building.
I was talking with a friend a few nights ago about our team and when I think back over these past 3 1/2 years, I’m amazed at what we’ve accomplished together. And that’s all on top of the climb that we’ve been making over the past 25 years. Even just looking at this year. We were down to 5-7 returning students after Covid did it’s damage. This summer we added a few more students to our ranks and began work on a development mule of a robot, testing out new to us, innovative solutions. Then we welcomed two mentors that are actively training students in their respective specialties. (Jon’s been around, but we made it official this year.) That’s in addition to the teaching that our alumni and seasoned mentors are doing.
The surprise that I was clearly not prepared for was the avalanche of new student interest. We quickly jumped from 9 to 45 students and all we did was run an announcement on WSCN and send an invitation to a few students that showed interest through various avenues. That number fluctuates almost daily as expected, but we’ve got about 30 or so students that are active on the team at this point. Another surprise came in the form of the District allowing us to host MVRC this year. Thanks in large part to Travis and Andy Yantes we, along with our army of volunteers, put on a top notch event and totally crushed the construction and demolition of the Infinite Recharge playing field. We fielded two robots this year and our main robot, XM23, seeded 7th of 17. It was pretty cool to see our development mule (9999/XM24) be apart of the winning alliance. XM24 really came together in the last two weeks before the competition. Thank you to those of you that had a hand in finishing our summer project.
It seems that we have quite a bit of parent support this year too. This is still an area of development over the next few months, but I’m optimistic that we’ll have even more robust parent support soon. On the sponsor front, we’ve received two nice sized sponsorships this year that we were totally not expecting. Ty Hamrick acquired the sponsorship of his mother’s company. The best part of that is that he read the team manual and took it upon himself to send out sponsorship letters.
And then comes the culmination of our journey so far. We were given permission to not only travel to an out of state, offseason competition. We were allowed to make it an overnight stay and were given guidance on how we could keep our traditional rooming arrangements while still keeping our students as safe as possible. This trip was essentially a test to work out the bugs of traveling before we take a larger team. Once again, in the last week leading up to this competition our team rallied together to get XM23 in the best shape it’s been in two years. We traveled to Rochester, NY for Rah Cha Cha Ruckus with 15 team members. We seeded 9th out of 25 and then became the 7th alliance captain. Our newly trained scouts gave us a terrific pick list and we played a few more matches before being eliminated. The students learned so much during that trip and they had a lot of fun. We ate well, we made new friendships, and we even spent some time in nature. Upon returning home, it was evident that we had just completed something very special and many of the mentors walked away with a renewed sense of inspiration and optimism for the upcoming season.
Can you believe that it’s only been a few months and we’ve accomplished this much? I’m sure that I’m even missing some significant milestones. All of this to say, I’m grateful for each and every one of you that had a hand in these accomplishments. There is no I in this team. This, as my friend said, is truly a team effort. I look forward to what the rest of this season will bring.

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