Tag Archives: kids

Poem of the Week: A Boy’s Wish

Sailboat

A Boy’s Wish

I want to live on a tidy sailing ship
Painted blue with sails of white
Not too big but just the right size
I’d call it the Mighty Mite.

I’d not go sailing on my boat
But live in it like a house
And I’d have some pets, maybe a cat
In case I had a mouse.

My boat would be so neat and trim
With everything in its place
A little kitchen and stove and all
Tucked in to save some space.

And in the night when it was dark
I’d read by lantern light
And go to sleep in my little boat’s bed
And snore all through the night.

I’d go to school like a regular kid
And they’d all envy me
And ask if they could visit
And I’d say, “Yes—just two or three.”

A sailor’s life is not for me
But I like to be afloat
With calm waters rocking gently
My pretty little boat.

So come on down and join me there
You can live on one as well!
There’ll be two of us then, you know,
And we’ll have lots to do and tell.

We’ll play pirates or pilots or adventurers
And pretend we’re not afloat
And then settle down and read some books
In my happy little boat.

–Dan Verner April 29, 2013

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The Kids Are All Right, Part 3

Students in a Robotic Competition, Somewhere. They look like middle school kids.

Students in a robotic competition, somewhere. They look like middle school kids.

I heard on the radio this weekend that ten middle school teams from Prince William County (where the City of Manassas and the Biscuit City studios are located) are traveling to California to compete in the VEX World Tournament of robotics.

I don’t know if you know anything about the world of student robotics, but basically students build robots to tackle a predetermined challenge and try to score as many points as possible. They learn problem-solving and teamwork in a hands-on manner.

Last week, 64 teams competed at “Roboticon” in Prince William County in which VEX teams from Prince William, the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, as well as private schools and home school students competed against each other.

“Roboticon is a middle school competition almost like the superbowl of robotics,” says Denyse Carroll, the regional STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education coordinator for Prince William and Manassas.

Two teams from Rippon Middle School, three teams from Bull Run Middle and one team from Stonewall Middle School, two from Manassas Christian School, one from Manassas Park Middle School and one from Marsteller Middle School will compete in California.

And get this–according to Carrol, there are are 250 middle school teams in the entire state of Virginia of which 168 are from the Prince William County area.

I think about our crude efforts to get all electronic in middle school, in a world of tubes and clumsily joined wires. We got about as far as crystal sets and that was about it. I still want to learn to solder (my daughter gave me a how-to-solder kit for Christmas a couple of years ago. I need to bust it out and figure out how to do it. I also would like to learn how to weld, which my nephew has offered to teach me.)

Radio was the big deal when I was a lad, and I actually had a show on our five-watt campus radio station my freshman year. But that’s another story for another time.

Who knows what we would have done if we had had computers and the internet. Harmed ourselves and others, I suppose.

But the tremendous involvement and achievements of local kids in robotics goes to show that they’re not out stealing hubcaps (if kids still do that). They’re learning something that will make the future better for all of us. And for that reason, the kids are all right.

(Facts and quotes liberally borrowed from a WTOP-FM account.)

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