Students concerned over VTHS robotics team

Vernon. Current members and alumni of the Vernon Township High School robotics team expressed concern over the fate of the club after two longtime advisers Aaron Kiedes and Keith McCotter resigned from their roles with the club. Administrators and school board members stressed that they support the club and it is in no danger of being cut.

| 24 May 2021 | 05:25

Several members of the Vernon Township High School Robotics team expressed concern over the program’s future after two of its faculty advisers stepped away from the club.

Longtime advisers Aaron Kiedes and Keith McCotter recently stepped away from the club, leaving only Samantha Kabe. The Board of Education and administration said the club is in no danger of being cut, and the search for new advisers is on.

According to the district website, the club is a comprehensive team that works toward learning about engineering, and building robots, as well as learning and developing students in all aspects of an organization, including finances, publication and marketing.

It’s a year-round club with a competition series that ranges from January until May.

“Many kids are passionate about the program,” said junior Daniel O’Connell, a team captain speaking on behalf of the other captains who couldn’t attend last Thursday’s school board meeting due to AP exams. “We’re going through a difficult time, but we were able to complete projects via online competition and are continuing to work on recruiting, and our robot, Corey.”

The Board of Education also was sent a series of letters from current students and alumni showing the positive effect the club has had on their lives and academic careers.

“The letters were fantastic,” Assistant Superintendent Charles McKay said. “They’re tributes to all the great things you’ve not only done in the program, but also after you’ve left the program. You know we love the program and will do everything to support it.”

McKay said the resignation of the two teachers from the robotics club broke his and Superintendent Karen D’Avino’s hearts.

“We know the amount of hours and days and time,” McKay said. “We are actively looking for replacements. That’s probably the wrong word. You can’t replace the people you’ve had. We’ still have two coaches out of the four folks that coach, and we’re going to try to add to that as we move forward.”