Posts Tagged With: education

Meeting the International Champion Monroe County, W.V. Lego Robotics Team.

While taking my youngest son to see his 4-H project at the West Virginia State Fair this August, we met a group of inspiring young people from Monroe County. The Boa Constrictor Robotics Team from Union, West Virginia is not only a local and national champion, but a 5th place winner on the world stage for Lego Robotics building.

Yes, you read that properly, 2 dozen kids from one of the poorest counties in the nation placed 5th in the world. The team beat challengers from Korea, China,and Chile, to name only a few of the over 60 nations represented. Monroe County claimed awards and trophies for beating hundreds of well sponsored teams from all over the United States and the World.

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Members of the Monroe County 4-H Lego Robotics team at the West Virginia State Fare 2017

The Monroe County 4-H members put on a demonstration in the 4-H/FFA center building at this years State Fair. The same room where all qualified projects are displayed and judged for the best projects at the state level. This team was able to show hundreds of visitors what 4-H can do for kids and what one small community was able to do with some dedicated volunteers.

Christopher was instantly engaged in the robots and the team allowed guests to play with the winning robot named Rook. The team made and displayed several smaller introductory robots also. I could not drag my son away, the visit to see his own project was forgotten and it  became a quest to learn more about how to make and drive these machines.

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Christopher getting instruction from Boa Constrictor Lego Robotics Team member

 

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Christopher in front of his first year 4-H pillow project that made it to the State Fair Level. 

The Lego Robotic program is a wonderful way to show off what is often overlooked in our young people in West Virginia. 4-H members have to do the math and work with their hands, solving problems in real world situations. They develop teams were they learn to build what they need rather than counting on something prefabricated. All things our rural kids already understand. Our kids will need more than one sponsor, unlike other teams who can depend on money from wealthy colleges or business.  They will have to develop public speaking skills as they talk to business people, university presidents, churches, banks and farmers to find the over $15,000 dollars it took Monroe County to make their dream come true.

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Christopher plays with the first robot the Monroe County team built-in 2016

So with my  family and others, an older son who loves to work with his hands, and help from our County extension office, we are now taking  on the challenge of getting more young people involved in STEM projects ( Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and  Robots. Our families hope is to increasing the number of children who are exposed to the future of technology and keep that interest growing . Lewis county 4-H is stepping up and following Monroe counties lead and starting their own Robotics team and my family is all for it. Soon we will have our own team,starting our own Lego robotic build and teaching kids about robotics. From the bottom of my heart, I am so proud to see our youth reaching their dreams. I thank them for inspiring a whole state of 4-H members and hope to hear great things about the Monroe county kids as they take on the State, Nation and the World competitions again this years. Best of luck kids….. West Virginia is behind you all the way!

To learn more about 4-H and Lego robotics and STEM projects contact your West Virginia University extension office in your county.

 

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Categories: 4-H, awards, Christopher, Cody, education, Legos, Monroe County, Robotics, STEM | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Child’s View of the West Virginia State Capitol

Just recently I was asked to make a day trip to our State Capitol Complex for an interview about my work with economic revitalization and community development in rural West Virginia. I felt that it was time for my youngest son to see a  different part of our state and learn a little about our government so I took him along.

Christopher seeing our government at work second floor of the Capital

Christopher looking out on the Senatior and Delegates taking a break on the second floor of the West Virginia State Capitol building.

I have made many trips to our States Capitol City and with Charleston, West Virginia only being a city of about 50,000 (my home town is around 230,000 people) I feel right at home driving and making plans to visit one of our states largest cities. Yet, I forgot that Christopher is just now beginning to understand what the difference is between rural “town” life and city life.

Governs office West Virginia State Capitol

Governor  Jim Justice’s Office inside the WV State Capital building.

As we arrived to the out skirts of the city Christopher kept saying to me “Mom we are lost…. Really, Mom I don’t remember any of this.” Then when we finally got into the downtown portion of  our trip  and he could see the Capital and the large buildings he was so excited. “Ooooo that is sooo cool Mom, Mom did you see that?”  “I am happy that we get to ride the shuttle.” For a boy who has never had the need to ride a public bus or train the shuttle to the Capitol was exciting. It was then that I realized for the first time that my son is a country boy in the big city for the first time and everything is new to him. I spent the rest of the day sharing in his joy of discovery.

We spent the day going through security check points, eating in the Capitol cafeteria, taking a tour of the building and eventually ending up at the Public Broadcasting TV studio for the interview. He drank in every new experience of the trip in like a sponge. We took lots of photos of the interior of the domed building and of the hardworking people who were trying to balance the state’s budget. He met US Army reservist, National Guard soldiers and NASA explorers. We talked with the Sargent of Arms of the House of Delegates and climbed lots and lots of stairs.

Children watching the House of Delegates at work spring 2017

Groups of Children watch as the House of Delegates works on the annual budget process

high contrast photo of Capital Dome

The west Virginia Capitol Dome passing over our heads.

The trip ended with a visit to one of the most educational places in Charleston, The  Culture Center. This is also the location of the TV studio. The lower level of the Culture Center is an immersion museum about the history of the State of West Virginia from prehistoric times to the current times. This museum also houses hundreds of pieces of art produced by West Virginia artist and musicians. The collection would take hours to get through for someone who wanted to really experience life in our state but we were on a deadline.

 

After a couple of hours in the museum we found the studio where we would film my portion of the interview.  I realized then, that I had made the right choice to take him out of his class room for the day, to make TV with a real director, broadcaster and engineer.   Christopher was allowed to stay in the booth with the engineer and was allowed to play and touch some of the equipment that they use everyday. As I proceeded to the set he remained behind the glass watching us on computer monitors. The shoot took about an hour and after we wrapped up he was allowed to see the cameras and look a the three sets that were in the large production room. His joy was contagious. He beamed with happiness and literally jumped for joy as we finally walked back up to the court-yard.

Later,he asked if we could see our show and I had to remind him that this was a cable access only program and we did not have that channel. He is was disappointed but understood that we were not really making this show for us, but for people who want to know more about what a Main Street does.

Christopher inside Tv production Studio Culture and History museum Charleston Wv

Christopher playing in the TV booth in a PBS studio at The Culture Center, Charleston, WV, Capitol Complex.

 

We left the studio and took time to walk the grounds of the Capital before heading back to our car. The sun was out, the sky was clear and the roof of dome gleamed as Christopher ran to the top of the dozens of stairs in front of the building. I was amazing to see how small he appeared on the landing at the top of the steps. The building had impressed us both and would leave a lasting impression on both of us. I will forever remember how much he enjoyed himself and how this experience let him learn so much about our government and our state.

Christopher runs the up the steps or the WV state Capitol 3-18

Christopher running up the front steps of the Capital Building.

Categories: AmeriCorps, Army, childhood memories, Christopher, education, historic locations, TV, West Virginia, West Virginia State Capitol | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Blogger Who Can’t Spell

   For those of you who are reading this blog for the first time, I will explaine a little more about myself.  I have been recently contacted again about my blogs spelling and grammitcal errors… let me put all the rummors and helpful statments to rest… I CAN’T SPELL…This is my disablity.

people who love us dont see our disablities just our ablity to love

people who love us don’t see our disabilities just our ability to love

   Ok,  now that we understand each other, let me also explain why,I have a form of Dyslexia called Disgraphia. It causes problems with short-term memory and graphic recall. I can read fine and really enjoy it as a hobbie. But the same skills that it takes to read are unrelated to spelling. Hard to beleive, I know, but when I read I only identify only about half the word and by its shape and size and context  my brain is able to understand its meaning and moves on. I never really see each individual letter while reading. Then, add in the fact that my brain recalls letters and numbers in the wrong order and presents them to me in a jumble, I have a terrible time remembering what words look like. So I have spent my life trying to hide, correct, learn, memorize… millions of words that no matter what I try to do end up coming out of my damaged recall system… in a mess.

    The fact that I even attempt to write on my Face Book wall or write on a blog is maybe a little on the crazy side. I constantly miss spell simple third grade words that anyone in the world knows are the basic building blocks for communication. But I continue to gain friends and readers of my blog. I at some point in my life I made PEACE with myself and my situation…. I am not a technician of language, I am not a professional writer (thank GOD) I am a Mom who has, in some strange twist of fate,  found that she LOVES to write. Yea,  kind of like  having no legs and learning that you love to ski.

   You find a way… I have found a voice and a place to, lets say improve, my skills. Word Press and its freedom and tools have allowed me to have a space in the universe where I can share my world and stories.It is freeing to write without a person leaning over me ( a thousand teachers) saying with red pen in hand, “you misspelled this or that” or  “that is not the correct usage for that verb”. I do try to correct what I can and manage my  grammar, but let’s get real… I am not good at it! I don’t get paid to reread my own words forty or fifty times. So Please stop informing me that I have spelling and grammar errors, I already know. 16 years of education didn’t fix it, I am positive that rude statements will not either.

  I have lovely friends and family that are grammar Nazi’s. They chose to not read my blog and I am fine with that. it is grating on their nerves to read and try to not correct every one of my mistakes. I love them for their honesty and wish that I had their skills. I also have die-hard fans who read and enjoy my stories and photos without much comment about my spelling. I love their support and understanding and am glad they “GET IT”.

   Maybe to your surprise I am educated, I have a B.A. degree and graduated from college with honors… my lack of spelling skills has never stopped me from pursuing my dreams and attempting to share what I love. It also does not lower my intelligence. Dyslexia has actually given to me many wonderful things, one of  the most important is tolerance. I know what discrimination feels like. I understand being segregated from others because you are different and I have learned to work around my disability and at times over come it.

   Word Press is the perfect place for me. I can write when and where I want. I can write about any topic and share what is real and important to me. I can write with my own misspelled voice. Word Press is freedom from over bearing institutions,where my words fly out of my finger tips. I love my blog and that I can find a creative freedom here that was lost in the 4 years of college and the twelve-years of public education. It is my freedom from the grammar Nazi’s in the world.    Finally, I hope that this has enlightened my readers.That maybe it is something deeper than laziness and lack of attention to detail that causes a person to misspell. Thank you for your time reading this,  it is my goal to improve my skills. I just hope that in 5 years I am a better writer then I am now.

JoLynn Powers

Categories: About me, Dislexia, Friendship, history, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

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