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Warrenton's ROV teams win top prizes at state meet

Warrenton-Hammond School District's underwater robotics teams - one elementary level and one middle-school level - pose outside the Lincoln City Community Center after winning first and second place respectively in the state Marine Advanced Technology Education Remotely Operated Vehicle competition. (Courtesy Josh Jannusch)
By Cindy Yingst, Friday, May 11, 2018

Warrenton is tops in robots, especially the underwater variety.

It may seem an unlikely distinction, but the two teams Warrenton sent to last weekend’s statewide competition walked away with first and second place.

The Marine Advanced Technology Education Remotely Operated Vehicle competition was held in Lincoln City. Twenty-two teams from around the state competed.

“They had some really good success,” said Josh Jannusch, a Warrenton High School vice principal and the regional STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) coordinator.

One teams from the district entered last year and did well, so the coaches decided to open it up to more students on two teams.

“They were overwhelmed by the number who said they wanted to be part of the team – 60 or 70,” Jannusch said. Coaches Heidi Lent and Dionne Marshall, both middle school teachers, and Dianna Widdows, the grade school’s librarian, helped get the kids ready for a three-part challenge:

The remotely operated vehicles they built were used to complete three underwater missions: locating airplane wreckage, deploying equipment to monitor earthquakes and installing renewable energy devices.

It's all in the name of making science and technology relevant and exciting to students and giving them real-world skills.

Each team also had to develop a business plan with marketing poster, present it to the judges and answer questions as if their company were vying for a job contract.

“We’re extremely proud, but also surprised,” Coach Lent said. “The whole machine we were doing was totally problematic until the day we competed. And we had no pool/underwater practice time.”

Members of the fifth grade team (first place): London Warner, Kimber Harris, Mason Vuylsteke, Mason Devos, Wyatt Bond, Micah Cole and Austin Palmer. Team members who didn’t attend the competition: Nayomi Holmstead and Shelby Bruney.

Members of the middle-school team (second place) Josh Lewis, Brooklyn Westerlund, Abby Farrow and Ivan Diego.


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