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Proviso West NJROTC Has Great Performance at Regional Contest

March 23, 2016 10:46 AM
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The Proviso West High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) won several awards at the Chicago Regional Sea Perch Competition on March 19 at Great Lakes Naval Station.
 
The Office of Naval Research sponsored the Chicago Regional SeaPerch Competition held at Great Lakes Naval Station on March 19.  Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, student groups from Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin competed to see who had mastered the building and maneuvering of their own underwater vehicles, known as "SeaPerch." The SeaPerch Competition consisted of three challenges: the finesse challenge, obstacle course, and poster board presentation. The Proviso West NJROTC won second place for their presentation of their vehicle and third place in the overall competition.  
 
All of the cadets involved had a great time, both building their units and during the competition itself. 
 
Tyler Taylor, a junior at Proviso West, learned that running his underwater vehicle in the obstacle course was much more difficult in competition. He said that it highlighted to him the challenges in engineering something for the real world versus a lab.
 
"Even though we had practiced before, in competition there were more currents from other people and units that made it much more challenging," he said.  
 
Cielo Medina, a junior at Proviso West, said that she enjoyed learning how to solder and put together a control box from scratch. 
 
"Watching something that you built yourself, really work and maneuver underwater was fun," she said. "The competition was a place you could challenge yourself against other groups who had done the same thing. Watching our teammates maneuver through the course was nerve wracking.  We worked together to innovate and problem solve to best meet the challenges of the course." 
 
The underwater course required that the sea perch maneuver through hoops placed at different levels in the pool. The sea perch had to pick items up from the bottom of the pool and use the vehicle probe to "punch" buttons to trigger Rube Goldberg-type results. 
 
Chief Al Whitten from the Proviso West NJROTC was the team sponsor and helped the cadets build their sea perch units and was there to cheer them on.  He drew on his experience working in a Naval ship yard to encourage thecadets to embrace the thrill of building something yourself. 
 
"The level of satisfaction in mentoring these kids and being part of this prestigious opportunity is immeasurable," he said. "It was a job well done for their success. I couldn’t be prouder of them."
 
Mr. Oscar Hawthorne, principal at Proviso West, said that the NJROTC unit continues to be a source of pride for Proviso West.

"We are very proud of them," he said. "They continue to show that they are among the best NJROTC units in the area and they should be congratulated on all of their success."
 
Reporting and photos submitted by CDR Rosemarie O’Carroll, USN (Ret.), Senior Naval Science Instructor at Proviso West High School. 
 

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