— An unusual guest made an appearance Monday night at the committee meeting of the Wayne Highlands School Board.
He was courteous, very well behaved and followed commands when given.
He could also throw a mean frisbee.
Members of the district's robotics team were on hand at the meeting to make a presentation — including how their robot works. The little guy performed well and impressed the members of the board.
Teacher Joe Mang brought several of his students to the meeting along with their most recent robot which competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition.
The team is made up of students from Honesdale High School and Western Wayne High School. This was their second year of competition.
"As a second year team, we turned a lot of heads," said Mang.
The team participated in many events in the Mid Atlantic Robotics tournament, which is made up of teams from New Jersey, Delaware and eastern Pennsylvania.
They were eighth in the quarter finals, ninth out of 42 teams and in the semi-finals at the Bridgewater-Raritain High School competition and made it to the semi-finals at the championship.
The team placed 19th overall out of 109 teams which competed.
Mang said the formation of the team was focused on giving students hands-on approaches to actual engineering tasks. Students are challenged with "real life constraints and goals in a six-week time frame."
Mang said that is one of the most challenging aspects of the competition.
The students are sent a video from competition organizers outlining the requirements for the robot. They are also sent parts.
This year, the robot had to have the ability to throw frisbees into slots during the competition. The robots also have to play defense, something they learned from their first year of competing.
Page 2 of 3 - This year, Mang said the team ran into another team which had a robot that could throw the frisbees full-court and make it into the slots. So they built a blocking device to stop the other team's robots from being able to score such easy goals.
The students explained they learned everything from engineering to life skills by being in the competition. They also learned the competition can get rough at times.
The robot was built with a styrofoam buffer around the bottom, but crashing robots still causes a lot of damage, they said. That means they also have to know how to do quick repairs during the competition.
Sponsors for this year's team were Wayne County Community Foundation, National Defense Education Program, JC Penney, Mick's Barber Shop, Yatsonsky's Farmers Market, Seaman's Marine, Music & Video Express, Pediatric Practices of NEPA, Gilson Construction and Bunnell Waste Removal. Donations were also given by the Mang and Marques families.
The total cost for the program this year was just over $31,000.
Anyone who is interested in the program or who would like more information can contact Mang at Honesdale High School.
Years of service
Also at the meeting, the board accepted, "with regret," several resignations of long-time employees.
In fact, the seven retirement amounted to 223.5 years of service to the district.
Those retiring were:
• Barbara J. Brown, family and consumer science teacher at Wayne Highlands Middle School, who has taught in the district for 37 years.
• Nancy Kinsman, language arts teacher at Wayne Highlands Middle School, who has taught in the district for 36 years.
• Maralyn Nalesnik, Wayne Highlands Middle School principal, who has been an administrator for 12 years and taught for 22 years.
Page 3 of 3 - • Dan O'Neill, vocational education teacher and golf coach at Honesdale High School, who has taught in the district for 28 years.
• Peter Ruvolo, English teacher at Honesdale High School, who has taught in the district for 37 years.
• Judith L. Stanton, school nurse at Preston Area School, who has taught in the district for 36.5 years.
• Sally Wasylyk, special education teacher at Honesdale High School, who has taught in the district for 15 years.
The regular meeting of the board will be next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.