The Washington Times-Herald

May 23, 2013

SeaPerch sets bar high for WHS

By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — It may seem uninteresting, even trivial to some, of the accomplishments of the Washington High School SeaPerch teams as they won in national competition over the weekend.

The two submersible vehicles created by the WHS NJROTC and the Project Lead the Way classes will not create the hero worship like the Hatchet state championship frenzy of recent years had.

There will be no banners for them, nor bonfires, fireworks, or fire truck parades throughout town. This will probably be the last time one will read about these students.

And that is underwhelming based on the accomplishments they achieved. They deserve acclaim for their hard work in winning a national competition last weekend.

I did not know how much work these students have done until I met them one humid April afternoon in the Daviess County Family YMCA. When they started explaining to me how they built their submarine and how each feature, even the pink color, was going to set national records and win national championships.

They worked on every inch and every facet of the vehicle, from the high-speed engines to the spray foam coating over some of the wiring.

Nothing was spared or excluded over many evenings in the YMCA pool.

I even got a chance to try one of the SeaPerch vehicles, and with years of playing video games under my belt, I couldn¹t get the submarine through the obstacle course. These students were breaking national records in practice, daily. Even though their submarine was fast, they were still working on getting it faster.

The NJROTC STEM team won both sections of the SeaPerch competition in the pool, and garnered respect from engineers on their design concepts. The Project Lead the Way team won a state title, and also placed in nationals.

Yet, this column may be the most these students will receive. So, for Daniel San Augustin, Laura Rainey, Noah Gaither, Shyanne Burch, Andrew Kingsolver, Timothy Webb, Alex Evans, Ethan Clark, Lauren Walker, Draven Harvey, Jacob Gross and teachers Jay Neuhoff and Capt. Neil May, congratulations.

There’s no banners nor championship rings. There probably will never be, but to be the best out of 4,000 teams nationally is quite a feat.

I challenge this community to honor these students. And there’s other students too that deserve your honor for their academic work and pursuits that are not strictly athletic. Congratulations to them as well and know they have a friend in this community.

***

Nate Smith is on Twitter at NateSmithWTH. Email him at nsmith@washtimesherald.com