Mentors of the Whitewater High School Robotics Team Ferradermis have the opportunity to nominate two members each year as semi-finalists for the Dean’s List Award, named after Dean Kamen, co-founder of FIRST, to “celebrate outstanding student leaders whose passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary.” This year, the mentors nominated juniors Zach Brantmeier and Bennett Miles. These students will participate in an interview process either before or at the Seven Rivers Regional in LaCrosse. The judges will select two finalists from the LaCrosse regional to advance to the national championship where the 10 Dean’s List Winners will be announced.
When recommending Zach, the mentors noted that at the Seven Rivers Regional in 2017, Zach found himself under a great deal of stress as the lead programmer on a robot that was behaving unexpectedly. He handled himself with tremendous poise, working with his mentors, programmers from other teams, and the control system advisors to troubleshoot under extreme pressure, ensuring the team made it to all of its scheduled practice matches and qualification matches on time. Zach has become the team’s “make it happen” person. His mentors rely on him heavily for team communication. Zach set up and manages both our Slack and Remind accounts; he is the first person to arrive for every meeting and the last person to leave. When someone needs to know what is going on, the answer is, “ask Zach.”
When recommending Bennett, the mentors commented that this fall, Bennett took the initiative to reach out to one of our elementary school teachers that he thought might be interested in sponsoring a FIRST Lego League Team as none exist in our school system; he recognized the need in our community and went for it. Bennett has scheduled several meetings with this teacher and the two of them are planning a fundraising campaign to make the FIRST Lego League team happen for the 2018-2019 school year. Bennett is already looking ahead to bring a freshman student into this loop so that when Bennett graduates in 2019, there will be someone prepared to continue this community outreach.
Congratulations, Zach and Bennett, and thank you for your dedication to Team Ferradermis! Good luck in LaCrosse!