FRILLS CORNERS - North Clarion School Board members and district administrators lauded the district's robotics team's efforts in displaying their robots in Harrisburg Nov. 18.

Students from several area schools were invited to Harrisburg to take part in demonstrations of their VEX robots Nov. 12 as part of the Pennsylvania Rural Robotics Initiative.

Funding for the program came through the PAsmart grant. Students were tasked with building and coding their robots and adhering to certain specifications. The robots were built to stack specially constructed blocks, among other tasks.

High school principal Ed Baumcratz said the North Clarion program totals close to 30 students. Students utilize built-in periods during school and extra time throughout the day to build their robots.

North Clarion junior Wyatt Stimmell and senior Diane Albright were able to speak with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf about the robot they teamed up to create and the coding and building skills the program focuses on.

"Our students' robot was the best one there," said Baumcratz. "Gov. Wolf probably spent about five minutes with those two students. It was a great opportunity for our kids."

Board member Jill Foys also attended the event. She noted the students' comfortability and ease with which they were able to demonstrate their robot as being the most gratifying aspect of the trip for those on hand.

"The students think they're playing with robots," said Foys. "What they're learning is how to interact with each other and all those critical soft skills for employment."

Foys continued, "What was really impressive is that these high school students are standing there and talking to the governor like he's anyone else. They were just so comfortable with the conversation and sharing what it is that they're doing and how they got their robots to do what they did."

Superintendent Steven Young added the district would be sending a group of STEM class and Science Olympiad students to the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg Jan. 7.

"There's a grant that will pay for a charter bus and we also wrote it into the Farm to School grant," Young explained. "It should be a great day for those kids. The farm show just has so much to offer to begin with, and you have STEM specifically for that day."

Foys added the event is gaining a lot of traction, and students will be able to have center stage presentations to show off their robots there as well.

Baumcratz said another part of the PRR initiative involved the purchase of drones by the district. He stated an agricultural based drone should be coming to the district soon. The device is capable of scanning farm fields and could introduce elevation, crop damage, and fertilizations studies to students.

Other news

The board approved the following agenda items during the meeting:

lThe Act 93 part-time athletic director contract for the 2019-2020 school year.

lThe second reading of policies 204 (pupil attendance), 209 (pupil health examinations), 702 (gifts, grants and donations), 707 (use of school facilities), 708 (lending of school owned equipment and books), 710 (use of facilities by staff), 812 (property insurance), and 828 (fraud).

lThe first reading of policies 006.1 (electronic communications at board meeting), 011 (board governance standards/code of conduct), and 125 (adult education).

lTwo non-resident students to attend the full day program at the district, paying $3,300 for the first family student and $2,500 for the second family student prorated.

According to Young, that brings the district to having 14 non-resident students in attendance.

lDiana Cubbins as a substitute school bus driver, contingent on proper clearances and certifications.

lThe retirement of maintenance employee John Lauer, effective Nov. 12.

lAndy Bish as head boys track coach. Doug Jackson as head girls track coach. Ryan Cornecki, Paula Judy and Roxanne McFarland as assistant track coaches. Dan Patton as junior high head track coach. Mike Brown as head baseball coach.

lThe board set 7 p.m. Dec. 5 as the date and time for its reorganization meeting and approved board vice president Jeff Barron as temporary chairman.