Sequoyah robotics team 49th in world competition

BY TESINA JACKSON
Reporter
05/24/2011 07:06 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – After passing qualifying rounds in November, four robotics teams from Sequoyah High School participated in the VEX Robotics Design System World Championship in March where one of the teams placed 49th.

“It didn’t kick in until the second day, but I finally remembered that this was world and there were teams from all over the world,” said Sequoyah junior LaDonna Ballard. “There were teams from China and Indonesia, pretty much everywhere. So it was a really big thing. It was a really big experience.”

The VEX Robotics Design System offers students a platform for learning about areas with career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. Beyond science and engineering principles, a VEX robotics project encourages teamwork, leadership and problem solving among groups.

“We added the VEX component because we found that our robotics students needed to practice their skills and have the opportunity to learn more hands on in the fall because first robotics only takes place in the spring, and so we had all of this down time in the fall where the kids could be learning,” said Daniel Faddis, Sequoyah robotics team leader.

This was the team’s first year participating in the world competition, which took place in Orlando, Fla. There were 15 students on the Sequoyah team that participated, along with a team from Claremore.

Sequoyah’s team consisted of Alia Willie, Jerilyn White, Shelbi Blackman, Martha Hardbarger, Shadow Hardbarger, Christie Tiger, Ballard, Shannon Orcutt, Patricia Sourjohn, Hope Harjo, Stacie Campbell, Taylor Goodrich, Dennis Chewey, Keiron Marshall and Laramie Fixin.

“We had a design period of about two weeks of just coming up with ideas and brainstorming,” Ballard said. “The actual building and working on it was about three or more weeks.”

For scoring in the competition, the teams had to design a robot that was able to grab tubes and place them on pegs at different levels and heights. Extra points were given during a bonus period if the robot was able to climb a ladder and stay there.

“As far as the competition is was what we are used to except a lot larger,” Faddis said. “One of the key things I think we did while we were there was we got to carry the Cherokee Nation flag in to represent us as a sovereign nation, and it was pretty moving to the kids because we were behind Canada and in front of China, and so when you’re in between two major countries of the world like that it’s pretty impressive.”

The robotics team started at Sequoyah four years ago. The team has participated in different competitions in Oklahoma and won several awards.

“One of the reasons we started the robotics program at Sequoyah is that it is a hands on way of learning,” Faddis said. “It’s not just a text book. It’s not just papers. The kids are in there and it’s hands on and they actually learn through actually doing things. There are a lot of statistics and stuff out there that show that the kids comprehend I, but one of the things I find neat about it is that the fact that the way our Cherokee elders used to teach their children and stuff. It was a hands on way of teaching, and so to me robotics brings traditional teaching methods to a modern science.”

During the offseason when the team isn’t building for competitions, members meet two days a week. During the building season, they meet four or five nights a week.

“For VEX, it’s in the fall from starting around late September through the beginning of December, and for first robotics it starts in January and goes for six weeks and we mingle in stuff in between. The competition is usually around spring break,” Faddis said.

Along with Faddis, coach Jacob Tanner Jr., Debra Nelson and Dr. Calvin Cole lead the Sequoyah robotics team.

tesina-jackson@cherokee.org?• 918-453-5000, ext. 6139

About the Author
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Tesina first started working as an intern for the Cherokee Phoenix after receiving the John Shurr Journalism Award in 2009. Later that year, Tesina received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and in 2010 joined the Phoenix staff as a reporter.    

In 2006, Tesina received an internship at The Forum newspaper in Fargo, N.D., after attending the American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. She also attended the AIJI summer program in 2007 and in 2009 she participated in the Native American Journalists Association student projects as a reporter. Tesina is currently a member of NAJA and the Investigative Reporters & Editors organization.
TESINA-JACKSON@cherokee.org • 918-453-5000 ext. 6139
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Tesina first started working as an intern for the Cherokee Phoenix after receiving the John Shurr Journalism Award in 2009. Later that year, Tesina received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and in 2010 joined the Phoenix staff as a reporter. In 2006, Tesina received an internship at The Forum newspaper in Fargo, N.D., after attending the American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. She also attended the AIJI summer program in 2007 and in 2009 she participated in the Native American Journalists Association student projects as a reporter. Tesina is currently a member of NAJA and the Investigative Reporters & Editors organization.

Education

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/30/2015 02:00 PM
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BY STAFF REPORTS
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BY STAFF REPORTS
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FLORENCE, Ala. – Education students from the University of North Alabama will travel to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in September on a domestic study abroad trip to spend four days immersed in the Cherokee culture. The 20 students’ vans will purposefully follow the Trail of Tears route that many Native Americans were forced to walk after the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. United Keetoowah Band citizens and UNA education assistant professor Gary Padgett will supervise the trip, which coincides with the Cherokee National Holiday. “The diversity experience is something all education majors have to have,” Padgett said. “This is a little more authentic and a little more local being just a nine-hour trip.” The students will visit sites such as the Cherokee Heritage Center, as well as learn about Cherokee games and traditions. The class is fundraising for the trip and hopes to raise $5,000 to cover costs. Donations can be made directly to UNA and sent to the program or at GoFundMe by clicking: <a href="http://www.gofundme.com/wa2jv4c4" target="_blank">www.gofundme.com/wa2jv4c4</a>.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
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BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/24/2015 08:42 AM
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BY TESINA JACKSON
Reporter
07/22/2015 08:28 AM
WASHINGTON – On July 10, as part of the White House’s Generation Indigenous Native Youth Challenge, the Cherokee Nation’s 17-member Tribal Youth Council asked CN citizen and U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., to accept the Cherokee Language 2020 Challenge. The challenge asks members of their communities to sign a commitment to use simple Cherokee phrases every day for the next five years. “When they presented me with the challenge I thought ‘absolutely,’ but the lady that presented me with the challenge, I told her that if I’m going to sign the challenge, she has to make an appointment with me, at least a couple times a year and spend 15 minutes with me helping teach me the language again,” Mullin said. Mullin said while growing up in Westville, Oklahoma, he remembered an initiative the school started where they took time to teach the students some of the Cherokee language. But because he has gotten away from the language, he remember only some of it. “I can still understand it sometimes if I understand the topic that they are talking about,” he said. “We have to make sure that the history, which is part of the language, in fact all languages not just Cherokee, but other Native American languages, that it doesn’t get lost.” The Generation Indigenous Native Youth Challenge invites Native youth and organizations across the country to become a part of the Administration’s Generation Indigenous, or Gen-I, initiative by joining the National Native Youth Network, which is a White House effort in partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth and the U.S. Department of the Interior. “It’s important that we have a voice on the national level because for too long we didn’t have that opportunity. Our culture is unique to us, so it’s important that we’re able to voice our concerns on the things that impact us as Native youth,” Tribal Youth Council President Ashlee Fox said. “Without our language, we lose important aspects of our culture. It’s necessary that young Cherokees have access to tools to learn our language because they’re our next generation of leaders and ambassadors to the world.” President Barack Obama launched the Gen-I Initiative to focus on improving the lives of Native youth by removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed. Through new investments and increased engagement, this initiative takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to ensure all young Native people can reach their full potential. “It was a huge honor to have met the man that represents out great state of Oklahoma, Mr. Markwayne Mullin,” Bradley Fields, Tribal Youth Council chaplain, said. “He really encouraged me to go above and beyond the goals I have already set for myself. It was great that he accepted our challenge as well because it's just another step toward keeping the Cherokee language going for years to come.” According to the White House website, other organizations who have accepted the Gen-I Native Youth Challenge include the American Indian College Fund, American Indian Higher Education Consortium, Boys and Girls Club of America, Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, Close Up Foundation, National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Child Welfare Association, National Indian Education Association, National Indian Health Board and the United National Indian Tribal Youth.