Warren Central science students find success with winning formula

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A team of Warren Central students are heading to Germany to show off their engineering wizardry. They won a US robotics championship. On their way to the top, a non-typical team of teenagers learned how teamwork plus diversity can equal success.

A transparent box full gizmos  and gears, webs of wiring and computer controllers automatically, almost magically, counts and spits out and assortment of prescription pills, to the right patient at  right time.

The engineering majesty not of Silicon Valley researchers but instead the work of five smiling Warren Central high school whiz kids.

"It's been an exciting experience." said Jon Owens. Brian Watt called it "phenomenal."

Together they beat high school engineering teams from Indiana and Pennsylvania to become US champs. It is a triumph for a rare combination of students.

"Yes, we've been told that," admitted Brian.

Jon and Brian, Emma Griffith,  Portia Jefferson and Jaidy Hernandez make a picture of diversity.  It is a team of two minority students and more women than men in a field typically dominated by white guys.

How does that feel? "Empowering!" shouted Emma as everyone laughed.

Along their winning ways, they did see a few women on competing teams. But Jon pointed out, "I don't think I saw any minorities." How did that feel?  "Diverse in a good way," he answered.

The students conceived, designed and built their pill-dispensing contraption in the lab of Warren Central's Walker Career Center.

Who is the smartest of the bunch? 

"I'll take that," said Brian. His female teammates disagreed. 

"The ladies are the smartest," they insisted with a half laugh.

The students learned as much about each other as they did mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering.  Who is the worst one to work with?  Brian again: "It's okay, you can point!" And they did, at him, laughing again.

The real point is, working together, they worked out their differences. 

"We did it together," Jaidy said with a sense of pride "It's not like anyone pulled more weight than the others."   

Emma agreed, "You can learn from other people and their experiences."

Brian summed it up, "It's not about the person, or what background you have. It's about how you work and being part of the team."

A team now celebrating the success and rewards of their differences.