Jeremy Culleton Wins 2024 Volunteer of the Year Award

 

Front Row: Wyatt Waldron, Everett Pederson, Logan Goulet, Marie Khamphoune, Micah Arneson, Madelyn Arneson, Guinevere Daniels, Kailey Lien and Dominic Corneliusen. Middle Row: Allison Bratlie, David Hruby, Sully Johnson, Brody Erikson, Zach Erickson, Patrick Bain, Roselynn Dignan and Emily Syverson. Back Row: Madison Wegand, Carson Culleton, Sam Daniels, Brody Norris, Hunter Larson, Andrew Mayfield, Lydia Heppner, Tatum Carlson and Elijah Heppner. Not pictured Simon Anderson and Julia Heppner

by Laurel Latham

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Volunteer of the Year award is a way for FIRST to recognize volunteers around the world who give extraordinary contributions of time and skills to the FIRST community. This year's winner of the 2024 Volunteer of the Year award given at Great Northern Regional in Grand Forks is Warroad High School 2883:FRED Advisor Jeremy Culleton. Jeremy has been the WHS Robotics Team Advisor for 16 of the 24 years he has been the Technology teacher at Warroad High School.

Recipients of the FIRST Volunteer of the Year award are role models to the community, demonstrating the core values of FIRST and exemplifying Gracious Professionalism. Team 2883: F.R.E.D. (First Robotics Engineering and Design) is proud of you!

Jeremy Culleton recalls how the Robotics program began at Warroad High School.

"After teaching at WHS for several years, I approached Susan Marvin, who at that time held the position of President at Marvin, with my version of the 'I have a dream' speech," explained Mr. Culleton. "My dream was to have a Robotics program at Warroad High School. Susan was very receptive to the idea and assisted us in partnering with Marvin to bring Robotics to WHS."

Team 2883:FRED has been competing since 2009. The Warroad Robotics Team was the 2,883rd team to join the World Robotics Championship League.

"What makes Robotics unique is every participant has a legitimate chance to turn pro, be it in engineering, programming, machine trades, mechatronics, or any other profession," continued Jeremy. "The very best part of FIRST is bringing in mentors from the real world to work along with the students. The students not only get guidance from the mentors' wheelhouse, to help guide them in the professional world, but also to help guide them in life."

One such mentor is Rosta Hruby, an engineer at Marvin.

"Jeremy is a visionary," reports Rosta Hruby. "He sees the bigger picture. Jeremy sees what kids can do by inspiring them and teaching them in a fun way."

Team 2883:FRED Team Captains, seniors Roselynn Dignan and Marie Kamphoune, love talking about their experiences as part of the Warroad Robotics Team.

"I am one of thirteen seniors on the Robotics Team this year," explains Roselynn Dignan. "I'm Head of Fabrication, which builds and designs robots. This year's robot is named Isabella after a character in the Phineas and Ferb cartoon series. Last year's robot was named Buford, after a different character in the cartoon series. We decided to stay with that same series to name this year's robot. Isabella is small and cute and that's why we chose the name Isabella.

"Isabella was designed to shoot rings into a high and low goal," continued Roselynn. "She is only 24 inches by 24 inches. Isabella was built to maneuver in every direction and to pick up rings off the ground with a harvester that flips out. A motor sucks up the rings, rolls them onto a conveyor and shoots the rings into a goal.

"Isabella had connection issues at the Great Northern Regional in Grand Forks, so we finished in 12th place out of 56 teams and we were presented with the Innovation in Control Award.

We have fixed Isabella's issues and are hopeful to do better at the Regionals in St. Cloud this weekend. The teams that do well in St. Cloud will continue on to the 2024 World's Championship held in Texas and compete with the best Robotics teams in the world. Mr. Culleton does everything he possibly can to teach each Robotics class to excel in the Robotics program, so they can compete with the best teams in the world."

Robotics Team Captain Marie Kamphoune is in charge of Team FRED:2883 Communications, Outreach, and Public Relations, along with Logan Goulet and Sam Daniels.

"It's very important how our team presents itself, and how it connects to other teams," explained Marie Kamphoune. "We want to not only make sure our robot performs well, but that our team also performs well. Our team wants to be available to assist other teams if needed, as well as receive assistance when necessary. Robotics competitions are about learning from each other.

"We drove down to the Great Northern Regional Competition on Wed. March 6 so we could set up. On Thursday, our robotics team took part in several practice matches. Also on Thursday impact speakers practiced giving their speeches and presented on Friday. Matches began on Friday and alliances were chosen on Saturday

"I had put together a presentation on mental health, with the help of School Counselor Bridget Lindner," reported Marie. "Mrs. Lindner helped me organize a thirty minute speech and slide presentation. I was so nervous that I didn't do as well as I wanted to, but I think mental health is an important subject to talk about.

"The goal is to equip mentors through workshops to gain skills to assist students with mental health issues. We would like to have a mentor who is a Mental Health Captain and able to talk with students who are struggling. Hopefully several adult mentors and student mentors will eventually be equipped with skills to fulfill the role of a mental health captain.

"Mrs. Lindner has helped me with so many issues I have had in the past and I talked about that in my speech," continued Marie. " I'm hoping for the chance to present again at the regional in St. Cloud this weekend. I've made changes to my speech and hope to be less nervous this time."

Before FRED:2883 Advisor Jeremy Culleton was presented with the 2024 Volunteer of the Year Award at the Great Northern Regional in Grand Forks, the meaning of the award was explained:

"We learn alot about our volunteers by the way they contribute to the success of their teams and to our events. This volunteer showed up for duty at our Great Northern Region Event seven years ago and we quickly learned that it's all aspects of robot build, as well as blueprint reading, building, construction and organizing all the many crews into their groups.

"This volunteer asks 'what else do you need from us, just let me know and I will get it done'. Now if we could only get this volunteer to stop telling us that he has to hang up because he is at the border and we will have to wait for him to get on WiFi when he gets home to finish the conversation.

The Great Northern Regional gratefully thanks this year's Volunteer of the Year, Jeremy Culleton."

FRED:2883 Team Captain senior Marie Kamphoune has not yet heard back from all the colleges she has applied to, but tentatively plans to attend Wheaton, a small liberal arts and science college in Massachusetts. Marie plans to earn a Bachelor's degree in Psychology.

"I would like to continue on and earn my Masters in Psychology as well," explained Marie.

After graduating from WHS this spring, FRED:2883 senior Roselynn Dignan will be attending Milwaukee School of Engineering. Rosalynn will be working towards a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

"I would not be who I am without Robotics," reports Roselynn.

And the Robotics program at WHS would certainly not be the successful program it is without Advisor Jeremy Culleton and the sponsorship of Marvin. Congratulations Mr. Culleton and thank you Marvin and Robotics mentors.

 

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