WGH’s Team E.L.I.T.E. makes strong showing at FIRST Robotics Competition Buckeye Regional; brings home Creativity Award!

High school FIRST Robotics teams from all over Ohio and Pennsylvania and as far away as New York and Wisconsin competed March 30 – April 1 at the 2023 FIRST Robotics Buckeye Regional.

Five local high schools, including Warren G. Harding, were represented among the 52 teams. Harding’s Team 48, Team E.L.I.T.E. went 8W-2L in qualification rounds ranking 8th and then seeding 3rd for the elimination rounds after being selected by Team 4611, OZone Robotics, from Delaware, Ohio.

Team 379, the RoboCats, from Girard, Team 2010, the Lightning Bots, from Champion, Team 4601, The Circuit Birds, from Canfield, and Team 8718, Tigerbotics, from Howland were also well represented.

Team E.L.I.T.E. also brought home the Creativity Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation. The Creativity Award celebrates creativity that enhances strategy of play and was intentionally designed and not discovered. The team earned the Creativity Award for their 3 jointed arm that prioritizes a low center of gravity and the ability to swing through the robot allowing them to acquire and score game pieces from the front and back of the robot.

Team E.L.I.T.E. improved significantly since their first appearance this year at the FIRST Midwest Regional in Chicago, Illinois. There the team ranked 24th in qualification rounds and ended the event in 3rd place alongside their friends, Team 379, The RoboCats, from Girard. This year’s team of 35 students is roughly 80% new to the FIRST Robotics Competition.

OZone Robotics went on to select Team 3201, Ross Rambotics, from Hamilton, Ohio to round out their 3-team alliance and later picked up Team 5413, Stellar Robotics, from Shelby, Ohio as a backup team. The #3 alliance went 5W-3L in the Double Elimination bracket and finished off as Regional Finalists, bringing home a trophy and silver medals.

Here are the results for the other local teams at the event:

  • Team 379, The RoboCats, from Girard ranked 30th with a record of 4W-6L
  • Team 2010, The Lightning Bots, from Champion ranked 46th with a record of 3W-7L
  • Team 4601, The Circuit Birds, from Canfield ranked 35th with a record of 6W-4L
  • Team 8718, Tigerbotics, from Howland ranked 40th with a record of 3W-7L

In this last week of Regional Events, Team E.L.I.T.E., The RoboCats, and Austintown’s Falco Tech will compete at the FIRST Greater Pittsburgh Regional April 6th – 9th at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The event is free and open to the public.

The teams compete in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition which challenges High School students from around the world to build a new robot each year to compete in a new challenge. Teams are given roughly 6 weeks to design, protype, build, program, and test their robots before competing at events. This year’s game is called Charged Up. Two alliances of three teams compete to score small traffic cones and inflatable cubes in their “community” on their side of the field. Near the end of the 2 minute 15 second match, teams then race to balance on top of their “charge port,” a 4 foot by 8 foot balancing platform. The teams with the most points wins. 

Warren High Schools’ Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame to Induct Seven New Members in the Class of 2023

WARREN – The Board of Directors of the Warren City Schools’ Foundation and the Committee of The Warren High School’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame will induct seven new members into the Class of 2023 during the 31st Annual Awards Dinner May 6, 2023.

The event will be held at Warren G. Harding High School, 860 Elm Road, Warren.

Tours of the high school and a social hour will begin at 5 p.m. Dinner, catered by Saratoga Restaurant & Catering, will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person and can be obtained by calling (330) 841-2321, Ext. 7136, or by downloading a WCS’ DHOF 2023 Reservation Form and turning it in by April 21.

The purpose of the award is to honor those individuals who, through their performance and achievements, reflect credit on the Warren High Schools (Warren High School, Warren G. Harding, and Warren Western Reserve), so that today’s students may find inspiration from the past and establish goals for the future.

The Alumni Hall of Fame’s Committee and the Warren City Schools’ Foundation Board of Directors will also honor a “Distinguished Faculty” member of the Warren City Schools. Each year, the Board of Directors requests that each inductee of the Hall of Fame name the educators who influenced and inspired their success.

The 2023 recipient of the “Distinguished Faculty Award” is Beverly A. Barile who worked for Warren City Schools for 16 years teaching English at West Junior High School, Warren G. Harding High School and Harry B. Turner Seventh Grade School.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are:

Shawn Cupples (WGH Class of 1983)

After graduating from Warren G. Harding in 1983, Shawn Cupples attended Thiel College where he was a four year letterman on the football team, member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, and served in the United State Marine Corps reserve. After earning a degree in Accounting and Business Administration, he accepted a position at Deloitte Touche in the Audit and Assurance department working as a Certified Public Accountant. In 1994 he accepted a finance position with General Nutrition Corporation and was transferred to the United Kingdom. In 2001, he returned to the United States and worked with GNC in various roles including Vice President of Internal Audit and Vice President of International Business Development. He currently resides in Scottsdale Arizona and is the Financial Controller for Paddy O’ Furniture. He has been involved with several charitable and social justice organizations including the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and the Keystone Progress Education Fund.

Kenneth Davis  (WGH Class of 2004) 

Kenneth Davis is father to Ethan (6) and Kennedy Davis (4) and husband to Brittney Davis. Kenneth is owner of Grow Pro Genetics LLC and Account Manager at Syngenta Seed, KWS Cereals USA and Bayer Crop Science. He graduated from The Ohio State University, Agribusiness and Applied Economics with a Bachelor’s degree and received his Master’s degree from Iowa State University, Seed Science and Technology.  Ken is a YMCA Youth Sports Coach and Morning Star Baptist Church Men’s Ministry Leader during his free time. Kenneth is also a recipient of The Ohio State University CFAES Young Professional Award.

Attorney Stanley A. Elkins (WWR Class of 1977)

Attorney Stanley A. Elkins attended Defiance College and graduated with a degree in both Criminal Justice and Psychology.  He obtained his Juris Doctorate from the University of Akron, School of Law in 1984.  Mr. Elkins was admitted to practice law in Ohio in May of 1985.  He has served as a prosecutor for both the City of Warren and Trumbull County.  Attorney Elkins currently serves as Chief Prosecutor of the Juvenile Division of the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office. Stanley has been a member of Second Baptist Church for over fifty years, where he serves as an Usher and Trustee.

Joseph Kotwis (WGH Class of 1984)

Joe Kotwis attended Clemson University and graduated in 1988 with a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. After two years with International Paper in South Carolina, he enrolled at North Carolina State and earned a Masters in Management graduating in 1992, while designing part time in Research Triangle Park. Joe married and moved to Iowa in 1992 for a 31-year career with Dupont. He transferred to West Virginia 2000 and then to Ohio 2006. Joe consulted across most films and laminates businesses in Dupont as well as external cell phone and aerospace customers. He was promoted to Technology Fellow in 2018 and retired in 2023, to pursue a manufacturing engineering consulting business.

Wendy Marvin (WGH 1980)

Wendy Marvin was born in Kimbrough Army Hospital in Fort Meade, Maryland. She arrived in Warren, Ohio at the ripe old age of 3 days. Her mother always told her this was the beginning of her wanderlust. Attending Laird Avenue Elementary, East Junior High and Warren G. Harding High School, Wendy went on to attend Kent State University where she spent eight years dabbling in this and that. She eventually became a medical assistant and never spent a day working in the field because working at the Trumbull YMCA not-for-profit sector while going to school was a job she loved. Wendy spent 34 years there before deciding to leave and move abroad. She received a teaching certification from the University of Miami of Florida for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and this was the start of her life abroad, first moving to Paris, France, followed by China, Bali and her current home, Warsaw, Poland. It has afforded her the opportunity to travel to 42 countries of the world and she has never looked back.

Jill Christein-Merolla (WGH Class of 1983)

Jill Christein-Merolla completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1987 and her Master’s Degree in Education Administration in 1992, both from Youngstown State University. In 1987, she joined the Warren City Schools as an elementary teacher at McKinley, Horace Mann, Roosevelt, and Dickey Avenue Schools. She was awarded the A+ Teacher Award by the Tribune Chronicle in 1992. In 1997, Jill advanced into administration as a middle school principal at Turner, and an elementary principal at Secrest, McGuffey K-4 and McGuffey K-2 at the Emerson Building. In 2010, Jill transitioned to central office leadership as Supervisor of Community Outreach and Grant Development where she led two major national initiatives in Warren with CASEL, Collaborative for Academic Social Emotional Learning with former U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan and worked collaboratively with SMARTS (Students Motivated by the Arts) to make Warren City Schools an Any Given Child school district, one of 25 with the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C.

Kirk Stiffler, MD, MPH  (WWR Class of 1988)

Kirk Stiffler enrolled in the combined BS/MD program at the Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine, earning his Bachelor’s Degree at Kent State University and graduating NEOUCOM (now known as NEOMED) with his M.D. in 1994. The following three years were spent in the Emergency Medicine residency program at Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio. Afterwards, Kirk joined Summa Health System as an attending emergency medicine physician at the training program. He was awarded teacher of the year by the residents in 1999; soon began to perform clinical research; and eventually served as director of clinical research for emergency medicine. During much of that time, he also chaired the Institutional Review Board (IRB) ensuring patient safety for those participating in clinical research trials at the institution.  During that time, he completed his Masters of Public Health at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was promoted to Professor of Emergency Medicine at NEOMED, and has published multiple peer reviewed research papers. After nearly two decades at Summa Health System, Kirk accepted a new role as Director of Emergency Medicine at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical system in Beechwood, Ohio during the late summer of 2017. In 2020, Kirk was instrumental in helping Ahuja’s Emergency Department navigate the coronavirus pandemic. Kirk has served as the Chairman of Ahuja’s Department of Medicine, and is currently serving as the President of the Medical staff. Throughout his career, Kirk manages to support various philanthropic organizations and is a dedicated father, son, and husband.


Warren City Schools sheds light on Homelessness among today’s youth during Awareness Event

Warren City Schools welcomed more than 30 representatives of Trumbull County agencies, organizations and educational facilities to the March 16, 2023, Homelessness Awareness Event.

Special Guest Patricia Julianelle, Senior Director of School House Connection, Program Advancement and Legal Affairs, discussed homelessness among the nation’s homeless youth. She said the numbers are staggering and that many people are not aware of the how many school-age children are homeless.

Jill Merolla, WCS Supervisor of Community Outreach and Grant Development / Homeless Liaison and RaiTwann “Rai” Gaston, WCS family housing navigator, offered a closer look at homelessness among WCS’ students and their families and the efforts taking place within the school district to help them.

Additional insight was provided by a School House Connection youth speaker who experienced homelessness.

WCS’ Team E.L.I.T.E. 48 competes at Midwest Regional FIRST Robotics Competition; preps for Buckeye & Pittsburgh Regionals

Warren’s Team E.L.I.T.E. 48 competed this weekend at the Midwest Regional in Chicago, IL. The event had 46 teams from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and as far away as Ankara, Turkey, to name a few.

Team E.L.I.T.E. (Encouraging Learning In Technology and Engineering) went 5W-6L in qualification rounds seeding 24th.

During alliance selection, the Girard RoboCats, which went 7W-4L seeding 13th, became the 8th alliance captain and selected Team E.L.I.T.E. and team 2013, the Cybergnomes, from Ontario, Canada. During the double elimination rounds, the RoboCats alliance went 3W-2L and finished the event ranked 3rd.

Both the RoboCats and Team E.L.I.T.E. will now return home to iterate on their creations and meet again at the Buckeye Regional, March 30-April 1, and the Pittsburgh Regional, April 6-8. If either qualifies during those events, they will advance to the FIRST World Championship in Houston, TX, April 19-22.

The teams compete in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition which challenges High School students from around the world to build a new robot each year to compete in a new challenge. Teams are given roughly 6 weeks to design, protype, build, program, and test their robots before competing at events. 

  • Pxl_20230311_153309369Students Levi Flowers, Michael Whiddon, Matthew Marksberry, Sarah Herko, Zosia Dupont, and Courtney Wilcox speak with judges about their robot and team. 
  • Pxl_20230311_203158025Students Michael Whiddon, Zosia Dupont, and Sarah Herko prepare their robot for another match alongside mentors Frank Bosak, Frank Shively, and Alex Richards. 
  • Pxl_20230311_175232295Student, Mallory Gannon, catches a yellow game piece during robot testing 
  • Pxl_20230311_214059934Mentor, Trevor Donley, works with Student, Michael Whiddon, to test a recent programming change. 
  • Pxl_20230311_175226783Mentor, Matthew Jones, guides Student, Raina Bacon, through a checklist before a match. 

BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION: Lincoln students honor the legacy of Henrietta Lacks

In observance of Black History Month, Mrs. Richardson’s 6th-grade science students – while exploring the contributions of some famous African Americans – studied Henrietta Lacks and her contributions to the medical field. 

Students then presented the material to others, which gave them the opportunity to hone their skills of public speaking.

The informative and interactive program was presented Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, at Warren’s Lincoln PK-8 School.

Lacks’ cancer cells are the source of the HeLa cell line – one of the most important cell lines in medical research – obtained during Lacks’ cancer treatment at Johns Hopkins by researcher Dr. George Gey in 1951.

The book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot explores Lacks’ contribution to medical research and the medical revolution that was launched as a result.

Leading SEL advocate Keeth Matheny works with WCS’ staff in addressing students’ needs

National award-winning teacher, author, speaker and social-emotional learning (SEL) leader Keeth Matheny spent time in Warren on Friday, March 3, 2023, meeting with school staff.

Matheny worked with Warren City Schools counselors, psychologists, case managers and behavior support personnel on supporting the wellness needs of students. Attendees worked in building teams to identify supports, align interventions and assess needs to best serve students throughout Warren City Schools. 

Matheny also worked with district bus drivers on youth wellness and de-escalation techniques. 

Field trip takes WGH students to Case Western Reserve University Cadaver Lab

Warren G. Harding students spent some time at the Case Western Reserve University Cadaver Lab on Thursday, March 2, 2023.

Here are some highlights from the trip and more information about the program:

  • Victoria Midgett wrote a proposal for the Schermer DiYorio grant to take the CCP Anatomy and Physiology classes to the Case Western Reserve University Cadaver Lab and it was granted.
  • The Cadaver Lab is the classroom for the Gross Anatomy class in the graduate program at CWRU.
  • The course at CWRU is for both medical school students and students pursuing Master’s degrees in Applied Anatomy.
  • The WGH students were the first high school students that had the opportunity to visit the Cadaver Lab.
  • The lab had 8 dissected human bodies. These individuals chose to donate their bodies to science upon their death. The bodies came from a 50-100 mile radius of the university.
  • The bodies are embalmed prior to coming to the Cadaver Lab.
  • WGH students took advantage of the hands-on experience. Highlights included holding a human heart, liver, spleen, and lungs as well as feeling the spinal cord and the cauda equine, the collection of nerves at the end of the spinal cord that resembles a horse’s tail.
  • The graduate students asked questions of the WGH students that helped them connect what they are learning in the Anatomy and Physiology class to the human bodies that were in the Cadaver Lab.
  • One of the WGH students said “I am pretty sure this just changed my career path.”
  • The graduate students demonstrated a passion for learning that was recognizable by the WGH students. The graduate students shared how they study for this course for 8-10 hours a day.
  • During the time in the lab, students were seen standing on stools so that they can manipulate and move the organs of the body in order to see how the organs are all connected. The graduate students were excellent in guiding the WGH students around the body organs and systems.
  • The cadavers in the lab were treated with great respect. Their faces/heads were covered with a cloth and there was a gentleness to how the organs were held and moved.

WGH students rock math challenge

Students at Warren G. Harding High School competed against each other Thursday, Feb. 13, in a mock version of the Moody Math Challenge.

For a moth prior to the competition, teachers Kristy Thornton and Courtney Susko worked with the students in training simulations to solve real-world problems through the lens of mathematics.

The program culminated with the day-long challenge in the high school library where students, working in teams, were given a problem, worked on the solution, then presented the solutions to a panel of judges. The students worked on a project involving automobile insurance costs.

Mrs. Thornton and Mrs. Susko organized the event for freshmen and sophomores who tested gifted in math, reading/writing, or creative thinking. 

The 10th Grade Team Winners are:

  • Sarah Herko
  • Sophie Gardner
  • Aaron Lawrence
  • Everett Miranda
  • Andrew Waldman 

Program sets solid path for WGH senior to pursue tech career

Warren G. Harding High School Senior Zyaire Bush has successfully completed the initial steps along his pursuit of a career in information technology.

Warren City Schools has partnered with the Youngstown State University Workforce Development Program to offer an opportunity for students to earn industry-recognized credentials for engineering, informational technology and advanced manufacturing.   

The program aligns with the YSU Excellence Training Center and provides an opportunity for students to complete online coursework at school and to also receive hands-on experience and training with advanced manufacturing equipment currently used in industry. 

Zyaire is enrolled in the Information Technology Program and completed the COMP TIA IT Fundamentals coursework and successfully passed his certification exam.  He has earned points towards the completion of the Industry Recognized Credential for COMP TIA, which focuses on common operating systems, network connectivity, security and common software applications. 

At the completion of the program, students have the opportunity to meet with representatives from local businesses and to interview for a job or paid internship.  There has been unprecedented growth and demand for more employees in our local area for the skilled trades,  advanced manufacturing, engineering, and informational technology.