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Village Chat: 05/15/2017

Village Chat May 15, 2017

Kenwood Robotics Team
Kenwood School’s Lego Robotics team, with Mr. Magnoli in back, holding one of the trophies.

On May 6, a team of students from Kenwood School - led by staff coordinator John Magnoli, dominated the Sonoma County Office of Education Lego Robotics Challenge. In addition to winning first place in several team events, the group swept the Sumo challenge, winning first, second and third place.

Team members are Claire Evans, Mark Evans, Sophia Evans, Gabriel Hebert, Reagan Hinkle, Nicholas KaDell,_ Hanna Kim, Ella O'Connor, Alexander Schoell, Norman Shinn, Annika Umholtz, Luka Amand, Josie Eubank, Rowan Fender, Uriel Guerrero, Claire Hoffner, Barron Jepson, Tobias Jetleb, Dean LemMon,_ Kushiel McClendon, Wyatt Olsen, Django Oyuela, Daniell Perez, Joshua Stocks, Samantha Stoecker, and Gabriela Tonelli. Mr. Magnoli was assisted by adult volunteers Sarina Umholtz, Mira Schoell, Bastian Schoell, Jerry Cook, Lesley LemMon, Chris Tonelli, Doug Stoecker, and Jeff Stocks.

Most impressive were the group awards that the team won.

Golden Propeller Head: This trophy is given to the team that best represents the spirit of the games by demonstrating excellence in teamwork, mechanical design, programming, and performance. The trophy is kept at their school until the following year's competition, when it is handed off to the new team. The team's name is engraved into a plaque on the side of the trophy. (Kenwood has never won this award before.)

Genius Programmer Award: Awarded to the team that demonstrates the best use of robot programming.

Team Spirit Award: This award goes to the team that most enthusiastically demonstrates a commitment to getting others to see how accessible, fun, and rewarding science and technology can be, especially when you're part of a great team.

School parent Mario Azevedo heard the director saying they have never had a school win so many of the group awards. Mario gives the credit to Mr. Magnoli. He said that at the end of the event, the kids started chanting his name!

As Mario says, “Great job Mr. Mag, you deserved this!”

The Sonoma County Farm Bureau (SCFB) named Pat Alexander Volunteer of the Month for May. The Farm Bureau wrote, “This month, we're honoring Pat Alexander, a longtime advocate of teaching today's youth about agriculture. As a member of SCFB's ag education committee, she puts an enormous amount of work into SCFB's annual Ag Days. Thank you, Pat!” A well-deserved honor, for sure.

Oakmont Golden Retrievers
At the Goldie Fest on May 4. Left to right: Abby (Bill Wellman, owner); Stanley (Mike LaForge); Bella (Debbie Tittle); Puppy (Joey Cuneo); Halo (Edie MacAlistaire); Wally (Alex Creed); Maggie (Gordon Harlander); Beamer (JoAnn Banayat); Paco and Rudy (David Bowman); Savannah (Dave Lopez / Gerhard Rossbach); Grace (Kathy Carter); Luna (Kathy Podboy); Cabo (Donna Forst); Zoey (Peggy Doonan); Sammie (Cathy Hardy); and Ella (Tony Lachowicz). [Photo by Maureen McGettigan]

Tony Lachowicz reports from Oakmont that on May 4, a number of Golden Retriever owners gathered with their dogs for a “Goldie Fest” at the West Recreation Center. There were 17 goldens altogether, socializing and playing ball in what Tony described as “organized chaos - but so much fun!”
Victor Reus
Victor Reus with the KP on the top of Table Mountain. Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, can be seen in the background.

Victor Reus of Glen Ellen has returned from a trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana with Cornell Alumni, and he sends an enthusiastic report, along with some jaw-droppingly beautiful photos. He called it a truly magical experience, recounting the “amazing diversity in sounds, colors, shapes and sizes; at night you hear grunts, chortles, chirps, whistles, snorts, cries and sighs; in the day, even the odd bug has three sets of wings, or four colors, or multi-sized spots alternating with stripes and swirls.” Their guide was good at spotting animals even from a great distance and well-camouflaged, so they saw “everything” - impala, kudu, waterbuck, sage, baboon families 60 strong, hippos, monitor lizards, civets, exotic birds galore, lions, leopards, giraffes, large elephant groups, hyena, cape buffalo, black rhino (five of them), crocodiles, mongoose, jackals… and more.
Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls, on the Zambezi River at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls was at record flow due to a heavy rainy season, and Victor got drenched walking the perimeter through double rainbows and what they call the “smoke,” after which he enjoyed a Pimm's cup at the Victoria Falls Hotel - very civilized. He writes, “I thought this would be a lifetime experience that I would check off, but I now am eager to go back and explore more, different habitats and terrains; as David Livingston said, 'I am ready to go anywhere, as long as it is forward.'”

That's all for this time. Please send us your news and photos, including graduation news. We will publish the high school graduation news in our June 15 issue, and college or post-grad as it happens. It's easy to do. Just email or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP

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