Oriole Advocates

Avon kids matter

October 24, 2017
by Rosie Blankenship

State legislators from Avon to speak at November meeting

Avon state representativesWe invite all Avon residents, students, parents, teachers, business owners, and any person with interest in Avon schools to join us at our meeting 6:30-8 p.m. Nov. 16 and the ACSC Administration Center.

Rep. Greg Steuerwald and Sen. John Crane have agreed to attend to share news with us about our state government at work and answer a few of our questions about education in Indiana.

We’ll also reserve a portion of the meeting for an “all hands on deck” activity preparing a special thank you to our Avon teachers.

Please join us and invite a friend!

September 6, 2017
by Rosie Blankenship

Teachers of the year to share stories Sept. 14

2017 Teachers of the Year

2017 Teachers of the Year

The Oriole Advocates are thrilled to welcome a number of the Avon Teachers of the Year to a panel discussion Thursday, Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Avon Community School Corporation Administration Building. This panel will be part of the Oriole Advocates’ fall meeting.

Some of the Teachers of the Year to be on the panel are: Kristle Chalos (River Birch Elementary), the 2017 Andy Mohr Teacher of the Year; Erin Brown (Avon Middle School North); Wendy Warthan (Avon Middle School South); Cathy Feldhake (Avon Intermediate School East); Dee Andrus (Cedar Elementary); Mandy Walton (Sycamore Elementary); and Dawn Battin (Maple Elementary).

The teachers will have an open discussion on the challenges and rewards of working for our schools.

Oriole Advocates are a group of concerned citizens — parents, grandparents, business leaders, teachers and others — who are working to promote student achievement and community engagement in Avon Community School Corporation (ACSC) schools. We are not part of ACSC and do not speak for the corporation. However, we do work closely with administrators and teachers because we all have the same goal: making our schools the best they can be for our children.

Meetings are open to the public and all are welcome to attend.

September 1, 2017
by Rosie Blankenship

Oriole Advocates celebrate outstanding school champions

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The Oriole Advocates recognized 11 community members Thursday during the annual Big Bird Awards and Ice Cream Social.

The Big Bird Awards celebrate teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and others who make outstanding efforts to support the Avon Community School Corporation. Nominations are made by any members of the Avon community. Nominees are champions for Avon students and teachers.

The 2017 nominees were:

  • Sarah Arnold, kindergarten teacher, River Birch
  • Holly Clark, volunteer with Mary Lee Maier Food Pantry, an ACSC project
  • Madeline Garcia, senior student, Avon High School
  • Jarrod Gatlin, assistant principal, White Oak and Maple
  • Stephanie Hulett, Life Skills teacher, Cedar Elementary
  • Kayla Kuepper, teacher, White Oak
  • Kasey Lamb, parent and Pine Tree PTO president
  • Rhonda Lynch, bus driver
  • Kristin Pappas, second grade, River Birch
  • Angela Rasor, curriculum coordinator, ACSC
  • Jackie Robertson, treasurer, River Birch

Holly Clark and Angela Rasor were honored as the 2017 Big Bird Award Winners.

Holly was nominated for her critical work with the formation of the Mary Lee Maier Food Pantry, which benefits all families with students in Avon School Corporation. A person who nominated her said, “Holly is ALWAYS there — the entire time — in addition to being a full-time teacher and having her own family. Families come to know her gentle, inviting demeanor and her kind heart, and they can count on her to be there every week. She also has been known to deliver food to families in need, and constantly has new ideas to help those in need. She is relentless in her pursuit of helping families of Avon School students have a source for food.”

Angela serves as the school corporation’s curriculum coordinator. Her nomination said, “Angela’s role in our school district in daunting. She leads with grace and dignity in the face of some very challenging situations. Her leadership in the Six Standards of Effective Pedagogy along with the personal and professional development opportunities she provides for so many is the reason she is so deserving of this recognition. Without Angela our vision would not be realized — she is one in a million!”

Congratulations to all of our nominees and award-winners. The students of Avon Community School Corporation reap the benefits of your efforts!

The Oriole Advocates will hold their next meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Avon Communication School Corporation Administration Building. The meeting will feature a panel of the teachers recognized as the 2017 Teachers of the Year for ACSC speaking on the challenges and rewards of working for our schools. Meetings are open to the public and all are welcome to attend.

June 14, 2017
by Rosie Blankenship

Plainfield RDC denies tax pass-through; will reconsider next year

quote graphic - The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. - Amelia EarhartLast week, Oriole Advocates attended the Plainfield Redevelopment Commission (RDC) meeting.

At this meeting, the Avon Community School Corporation (ACSC) requested property tax funding that is lost for Double Creek Flat Apartments. These apartments are located in Washington Township. Students living there attend Avon schools. These apartments were built in a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district. As a result, ACSC does not receive property tax funds for this development to support our students.

The RDC determined that it will not pass through any funding this year, but expressed a commitment to re-examine the request next year. The RDC wanted to allow the apartments to be fully developed so that the total value would be known and also wanted to allow more TIF funds to be generated before committing to passing through funds to ACSC.  The Oriole Advocates appreciate the commitment from the RDC to continue to analyze this issue and re-examine this decision next year.

The Oriole Advocates continue their focus on increasing funding for Avon Schools – on a local and state level!

Edited 6/15/2017: Clarification on the intention of the RDC to reconsider the request next year.

April 4, 2017
by Karen Eglen

An Important Message From Our Superintendent, Dr. Hoernemann

go-back-gallery-for-we-need-your-help-FbVU9w-clipartFor those of you who were on break, we hope your first day back was a good one.  Since the legislative session has been in full swing, many of us have been carefully watching what is happening and how it may affect ACSC.  Unfortunately, the proposed K-12 budgets released by the House a couple of weeks ago and by the Senate (on March 30) are devastating to ACSC.  Despite all the work of the Oriole Advocates and many of you telling our story of efficiency and need, both proposed budgets are more negative for ACSC than for most other Hendricks County and Hamilton County Schools. With less than three weeks left to go in this legislative session, we have one last chance to try to influence our future.

In a nutshell:  the Senate Budget (unveiled last Thursday) increases per student funding to ACSC by a meager 0.5%. With inflation at 2.1%, we could not even keep our current level of programs/service.  It goes without saying that without strong growth and funding that keeps pace with inflation, issues related to improved class sizes and innovation in programming will be in jeopardy.

Our funding did improve slightly in the Senate budget (compared to the earlier House budget) due to the inclusion of some teacher bonus pay. What bothers us more than anything is that the percent increase in per student funding in most Hamilton County Schools is as much as four times what ACSC would receive. We have expressed our concern about these discrepancies and no one has been able to adequately explain or defend them.

We are focused on the fact that neither the House nor Senate budget provides adequate funds per student for ACSC.

Senator Crane and Rep. Steuerwald are well aware of our concerns and have been great listeners.  We have also met with Rep. Jeff Thompson who is a key player and represents a small portion of Avon . They may not be able to influence change as they are not directly involved in the powerful top echelon that will have the most influence on the budget, but they could vote against the budget in order to send a message. Sen. Crane will be voting as early as Wednesday and Rep. Steuerwald at some point in the future.  We need to give them hundreds of reasons to vote against this budget and/or to try to influence more funds/student for ACSC in the final budget.

Please email or call and leave a message.  Be respectful and constructive please.

Sen. John Crane s24@iga.in.gov – 800-382-9467
Rep. Greg Steuerwald h40@iga.in.gov – 800-382-9841
Sen. Mishler s9@iga.in.gov – 800-382-9467
Sen. Kenley s20@iga.in.gov – 800-382-9467

If you live elsewhere, even better.    You can stand up for Avon with potentially powerful Senators and Representatives. Don’t be ashamed if you don’t know who they are or how to contact them. Lots of people don’t.  We will be happy to identify them for you or go to https://iga.in.gov/legislative/

We are asking you for less than 5 minutes of your time –unless you can get 5 friends to help too!

We will keep you posted.


Maggie Hoernemann


Message from the Oriole Advocates:  PLEASE NOTE:  Voting on the budget could take place as early as tomorrow (Wednesday, April 5), so please make your calls and send your emails today or early tomorrow.  Even if you’re late, send them anyway.  ALSO, avoid copy/paste.  Make your message as personal as you can so that they know we mean it!  Thank you for your help!  Our kids are worth it!

March 14, 2017
by Rosie Blankenship

Advocates testify at state senate hearing

Indiana General Assembly logoAs the state budget continues to move toward a vote in the Indiana Senate, Oriole Advocates are working hard to support revisions in funding for education. Our position is that the proposed budget for education will have a negative impact on schools that are most in need and will hit Avon schools particularly hard.

Two Oriole Advocates testified before the Indiana State Senate School Funding Subcommittee meeting yesterday, March 13, 2017, with a powerful statement on the negative impact of this proposed budget. Sarah Parent of the Oriole Advocates Executive Committee and Dr. Scott Wyndham, who is both an Oriole Advocate and Director of Finance and Operations for the Avon Community School Corporation, presented their statements to the committee.

Pdf_download_iconSarah Parent Senate testimony 3-13-17

Pdf_download_iconDr. Scott Wyndham Budget Testimony 3-13-17

When video is available from the Indiana General Assembly website, we will add it here.

State-wide, the proposed budget increases the amount to education at a level that does not keep pace with inflation. This alone is a problem – a budget that doesn’t keep up with increasing expenses means schools will face cuts. When viewing the funding changes by district, the story becomes even more dire. Under the House-approved budget, Avon will be forced to cut programs and staff, while educating the same number of students or more.

Now is the time to act! Please read our previous post for more information to write letters, emails or phone calls. The budget will soon be heading to a Senate vote – changes need to be made NOW.

March 7, 2017
by Rosie Blankenship

We need to act NOW for our schools!

point7Thank you to everyone who came out to the Oriole Advocates quarterly meeting last night. Whether you were with us in person or not, we know all of you are committed to advocating for Avon schools. This is the time! We need to speak loudly with many, MANY voices!

The budget bill that passed the House will be yet another setback for our schools. Avon would see only a 0.7% increase in funding which is much less than inflation (2.2%) and 3-4 times less than schools like Carmel, Zionsville or Westfield would receive.

It is critical that our legislator hear from us before the Senate votes on this bill in the next couple weeks. We challenge everyone to write at least 3 letters or emails or make phone calls ASAP. And further challenge you to reach out to at least 1 other person to do the same.

We know that copied and pasted messages are ineffective and often ignored. So make your messages your own and let you passion come through, but always remain respectful. The following are some talking points to help craft your messages but, as always, share what speaks loudest to you.

House approved budget (now to be considered by Senate)

  • Avon’s funding does not keep pace with inflation. Under the House approved budget, Avon’s funding increases 0.7% while inflation was 2.2% last year.
  • That amounts to $39/student increase — insufficient given rising costs in all areas of our budget.
  • Avon is as lean as it can be. Compared to 2009: we have 27 fewer teachers, 6 fewer administrators, 20 fewer custodians & 931 more students.
  • While all entities were hit hard by the Great Recession, Avon also contends with the impact of tax caps. Many Hoosiers appreciate having our taxes capped, but had no idea that the impact on our highly residential district would be $47 million (since tax caps were enacted).
  • School districts in other suburban Indianapolis districts are slated to receive increases at or above the inflation rate. (see graphic)

You can find contact information for many of our legislators on our Facebook page or by entering your address on the Indiana General Assembly Find your Legislator page. The following are a few critical ones to reach, but don’t feel like you have to stop with them.

The mailing address for all three legislators is:

200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Thank you for your time, it really can make a difference for the students & teachers of Avon!

September 22, 2016
by Rosie Blankenship

Oriole Advocates meet during first quarter

Avon Kids Matter graphicOriole Advocates Meeting Notes
September 19, 2016  


Dr. Maggie Hoernemann, superintendent, shared about the creation of Oriole Advocates from the perspective of the school corporation. In the summer of 2014, she was facing her first legislative budget session since becoming superintendent. For years, Avon class sizes had been creeping upward and the faculty and staff had not been receiving pay raises. She felt the community needed to be using its clout within the state to effect change. She reached out to the Sparzo family, who had been strong supporters of Avon Community School Corporation, and tossed around ideas with Dr. John Sparzo to pull together a group of people who would advocate for Avon students and teachers.

Karen Eglen shared from her perspective as a parent that she was interested in this group because of her kids. She had been going through a gradual process of asking more and more questions about why Avon class sizes were getting larger. She felt she could get involved in Oriole Advocates to learn more and “do something about it.”

Introduction Executive Group Members

Dr. Hoernemann introduced the executive committee of

  • Rosie Blankenship
  • Missy Van Buskirk
  • Karen Eglen
  • Jennifer Mills
  • Trilby Berry-Tayman
  • Scott Clore
  • Dr. Scott Wyndham (ex-officio)
  • Sarah Parent (who was absent)
  • John Sparzo (who joined the meeting later)
  • and Dr. Hoernermann (ex-officio) herself.

The executive committee has been a smaller group who meets monthly to dive deeply into work the Oriole Advocates need to address.

Mission, Vision, Principles

Jennifer Mills reviewed the Mission, Vision and Principles of the Oriole Advocates, adopted in January 2015. (Available to read here.) She described this document as guiding principles to show that Oriole Advocates did not want to be a negative voice in the conversation about schools. The principles talk specifically about community unity and how Advocates are helpful, informative and respectful. Although the Advocates are a separate entity from the Avon Community School Corporation, these ideals encourage the group to seek input from teachers and administrators, which means the work of the Advocates generally aligns with needs expressed by teachers.

Mini State of the Schools

Class Size Averages 2016Dr. Hoernemann gave a review of the historic funding per student in Avon Community School Corporation, as well as a bit about how the funding formula works (although the complexity of that state formula was far beyond the scope of the meeting). The full set of slides from her presentation can be found here. She discussed that Avon per student funding ranks us as 332 out of 365. While changes in the 2015 budget have led to positive changes, she said, “That’s yesterday’s news.” She said between November 2016 and March 2017, all of the decisions will be made for the next two years of funding, calling it the “sweet spot” for advocacy work.

Avon school per student funding is up $192 from the previous year, but still $504 below the state average. As of 9/16/16, the student count has our schools is up 164 new students.

She shared teacher salary comparisons based on last year’s data because this year’s contract is under negotiation. She noted that entry-level teachers can make more in neighboring districts: 5.9% more in Wayne, 3.8% more in Brownsburg, to name two. Veteran teachers (20+ years) can make an even greater percentage difference in salary: 10.8% more in Plainfield, 8% in Wayne, 7.5% in Westfield. This is significant because excellent teachers can leave for better-paying positions, even without moving their families.

She talked a bit about the property tax revenue loss, which is substantial. These revenues can be spent on items like building debt, pension debt, technology, insurance, buses and other improvements. She explained that the property tax cap limited residential property taxes to 1% of assessed value; farmland to 2%; and business to 3%. In communities like Avon – where about 75% of the property is residential and 25% is business, this hit the budgets impacted by those revenues hard. She explained this is a situation that wasn’t felt in all school systems. If a school district – such as Plainfield – has the opposite makeup of taxable properties (75% business/25% residential), their budget is not significantly impacted. The majority of school districts in Indiana do not have the significant impact of property tax cap loss that ACSC experiences–making it an issue that is not a concern to many in our state.  

Dr. Hoernemann went on to talk about the relationship of test scores and class sizes. Avon has slipped from ranked 16th on ISTEP scores in 2012 to 23 in 2015. She noted that 2014 was the worst year for the sizes of classes.

She feels the school corporation has been very good stewards of the taxpayer’s money and would love to avoid taking this financial issue to referendum. The time and money spent on a referendum vote on taxes may not be worthwhile. So, being excellent stewards of the money is one way the corporation has tried to make ends meet.

The corporation has received a math-science partnership grant of $250,000, a propane bus grant, have terrific insurance efficiencies, had a 0% premium increase for this year (as she said, “This means we didn’t have to give the staff raises, only to turn around and take it away two months later so they could absorb higher premiums.”), has entered into sponsorships with Hendricks Regional Health and Andy Mohr, and are refinancing debt to save interest payments.

She invited those present to continue to learn with the Oriole Advocates about the needs of Avon Community School Corporation, communicate those needs to others and to advocate for the needs with legislators and the local community.

Organizational Structure

Karen Eglen led an update on the organizational structure and changes to Oriole Advocates. These include:

  • The full group will now meet quarterly. (Upcoming meeting dates can be found here.)
  • The executive committee meets monthly and all are welcome to attend.
  • Oriole Advocates have filed Articles of Incorporation and are now a non-profit in the state of Indiana, but are not a 501(c)3 due to our legislative advocacy work. Mainly, the formation as a non-profit was done to be able to do some minor banking in the name of Oriole Advocates and to establish ourselves as a separate legal entity
  • Karen shared the proposed by-laws and said they would be voted on later.
  • A membership form was handed out and she explained new members can join tonight or later, but that we do require they commit to our guidelines.
  • She explained that we eliminated the categories of Armchair Advocates etc. All members are Oriole Advocates and may participate to any extent they are comfortable.

Information Sources

OA website screenshotRosie Blankenship shared the available information sources to help support Oriole Advocates in our work. This includes the website, Facebook and Twitter, as well as email.

Currently, we are seeking people who would be willing to write a blog post, particularly for the “Best of the Nest” series, where we highlight teachers and students doing things that make us particularly proud to advocate for our schools.

Oriole Advocates can use these tools to share information with their own networks. Meeting minutes will be posted to the website within a few days of each meeting. Calls to action are generally first posted to Facebook/Twitter, but additional information is made available on the website and in email. If any Advocate needs to contact a member of the executive committee, they may email orioleadvocates1@gmail.com and it will be forwarded to the appropriate person.

thank you graphicHistory of Accomplishments and Activity

John Sparzo shared about the history of accomplishments of the Oriole Advocates, which included:

  1. Developed a Reputation for Positive, Encouraging Communications. One example, include writing thank you notes to our legislators after the close of the 2015 session. As John said, “They probably don’t get a lot of thank you notes.” This made a positive impact on those people.
  2. Boosted staff morale. Oriole Advocates have had more than two dozen teachers come to speak at meetings because the Advocates genuinely value teacher voices. These teachers feel supported and valued for their work, and have expressed so repeatedly. The Oriole Advocates liaison program is also making attempts to connect to the schools in the same, meaningful way. He said we helped show that, “We stand side-by-side” with the teachers.
  3. Increased funding per pupil. This is a big one, but our advocacy helped lead the way to increased funding at the last budget session of the state legislature. Avon was able to hire almost 30 teachers at the start of the 2015-16 school year.
  4. TIF funding. We have made our thoughts known on residential housing in TIF districts and their financial impact on the school district. We have elevated a little-understood issue to a place where important conversations are being had in Avon and in Plainfield. This may have a future impact even if it doesn’t result in changes regarding the current TIFs in place.


t-shirt2Oriole Advocates shirts

Missy Van Buskirk shared the Oriole Advocates shirts are available to order for $30 each. A second style of shirt will now be offered that is more of a traditional polo fabric for $20. Samples of these shirts are available. A deadline for ordering will be set soon. Advocates are not required to buy a shirt, but they do help show who you are in meetings and public events where we will have a presence.

By-Laws and Voting on Slate Executive Committee

The proposed by-laws were shared. Kent Mueller moved to accept them as written. Mark Rodgers seconded. The vote was unanimous in favor. The by-laws can be read here.

Per the by-laws and requirements of the non-profit corporation status, a slate of officers was presented. They are:

  • President: Karen Eglen
  • Vice-President: Jennifer Mills
  • Secretary:  Rosie Blankenship
  • Treasurer: John Sparzo
  • Member At-Large: Trilby Berry-Tayman

Linda Dobbs moved to accept the slate as presented. Missy Van Buskirk seconded. The motion carried with a unanimous vote of all present.

The executive committee, as introduced at the top of the meeting, is appointed by the president and includes Dr. Hoernemann and Dr. Scott Wyndham as ex-officio (non-voting) members.

Dates of Future Meetings:

  • Monday, November 7, 2016 – 6:30-8:00 p.m.  Administration Center
  • Wednesday, January 18, 2017 – 6:30-8:00 p.m.  Administration Center
  • Monday, March 6, 2017 – 6:30-8:00 p.m.  Administration Center


September 9, 2016
by Rosie Blankenship

Oriole Advocates need you Sept. 19

meeting photo

We think we look this cool at Oriole Advocate meetings. (Photo by Cozendo via PixaBay. Used under CCO Public Domain.)

The Oriole Advocates are retooling for an exciting and productive year and we want LESS of your time!

Yes, you heard that right. We want you as a member of Oriole Advocates, but we are reducing the number of meetings this year and streamlining our organizational structure.

Two years ago, a group of Advocates organized with the goals to learn, communicate and advocate. Our advocacy has been intentional, strategic and disciplined. We have spoken formally and informally with community and state leaders and legislators. We had a positive influence on school funding. We made a difference!

So, why are we reducing the number of meetings? There certainly isn’t less work to do! We recognize that time is a precious commodity. For that reason, we have planned a schedule of jam-packed quarterly meetings to accomplish our continued goals.

A smaller executive committee will continue to meet monthly, but we need a larger group of Advocates ready to support our goals during this very important public school funding year.

Advocacy can feel intimidating to some, so we emphasize respectful, accurate, verifiable communication. Our meetings will be filled with information you can take back to use in your daily lives as you advocate for the needs of Avon teachers and students.

We are an inclusive organization and have members who are Avon Community School Corporation employees, parents, business leaders, and some who have no connection to the district other than living in Washington Township!

You are invited to join us for our first meeting of the year on Monday, Sept. 19 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Avon Administration Center (7203 E. U.S. Highway 36, Avon, IN 46123). There is no obligation to commit to membership or requirement to volunteer for work at the meeting. Just join us to find out more of what Oriole Advocates are all about.

To accomplish our goals, we need you! We hope you will join us.

All of our meetings are open to the public. Future meetings will be:

  • Monday, Nov. 7 – 6:30-8 p.m. at the Administration Center
  • Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017 – 6:30-8 p.m. at the Administration Center
  • Monday, March 6, 2017 – 6:30-8 p.m. at the Administration Center

November 6, 2015
by Karen Eglen

Roborioles: The Robotic Takeover in Avon Schools

Who are the Roborioles?

Avon High School has a robotics club! Five years ago, Tim Engelhardt approached Chris Hill and Gary Ayers and asked if they’d like to help start a robotics club, and they were enthusiastic to get started! The Goal: Provide a great experience for students. And that’s just what they did. For the first year the club had about 24 numbers, and has grown to 60 – with 14-16 mentors (teachers, parents, engineers, and technicians).

What do they do?

It all starts with a problem. Before the competition season, mentors and instructors will set out specific problems for these budding engineers to solve. Sometimes, the problem is a game. For example, perhaps they have to develop a robot that will grab a wooden circle from around one peg, across a platform and place the wooden circle around a new peg. Starting with the problem, the kids then break up into groups to start coming up with solutions. One group will have to design a chassis that will have wheels and allow the robot to move from A to B, there also needs to be places on the chassis where other pieces of the robot can be attached. Another group will start creating a mechanism that will actual complete the task set out by the problem or challenge. Meanwhile, programmers are busy developing ways to tell the robot how to do the job it’s intended for, and still another group of students is trying to figure out how all of these pieces and parts are going to fit and work together. An additional group of people focuses on how to raise the profile of the club with various PR projects. That group created little trinkets to hand out as little gifts at events, such as AHS’s Trunk or Treat. Here are the different focuses that the students take on inside the club: programming, electrical pneumatics, mechanical engineering, integration specialization, strategy, inspection, and PR. Students and mentors work in these various areas to ensure that the robot functions properly.2015-10-29 15.00.27

An association called FIRST Robotics presents the challenge for the competition season, which the club will receive in early January. The entire competitive season lasts from the time they receive their challenge through April. This challenge becomes the problem the members will be solving for the following weeks to prepare a robot to take to competitions. Last year, students had to develop a robot that could pick up large barrels. You might have seen their barrel robot if you were at the high school’s Trunk or Treat this year in the form of a large ghost that successfully frightened many people who thought it would stay stationary and didn’t! You might also have seen one of their off-season projects if you’ve been to football games and watched a canon-like robot shoot t-shirts into the crowd.

What do the members get out of their time with the Roborioles?2015-10-29 14.59.41

Experience, experience, experience! These inspiring young people are working together, learning to collaborate, working on technical problems, and developing solutions – not just to their robotic problems, but also interpersonal solutions along the way. Many of these kids plan to pursue a future in engineering, and this club is an ideal place to explore the various paths they might take. Avon High School student, Colin Blose says, “It’s a huge help since I plan to study engineering when I go to college.”

How are they funded?

2015-10-29 15.14.47

Sponsors are represented by placards on the robot the students built.

The bulk of the funding for Roborioles comes from corporate donations and grants. Chris Hill has invested a great deal of time and passion writing grant proposals so that the club can have all the materials it needs in order to be successful. Companies such as Rolls Royce and Allison Transmission donate money to clubs like the Roborioles because they know that they are investing in their own future. Many of these students will go on to great engineering schools with a desire to return to the area and take up a career. These corporations are aware that they will see a return, simply in the depth of understanding that these students will bring back as employees someday. In fact, Carrier believes so hard in this cause that one of their employees, Steve Blaske, comes to work with the Roborioles every week as part of his job, and he continues to get paid for his work. They consider these young minds a truly worthy investment! Student members also pay $50 a year to be a part of the group, which pays for transportation costs associated with attending various events throughout the year.

Will there ever be robotics teams for younger kids?

This is currently in the works! Students from grades 5-8 will soon be able to participate in similar programs at their own schools. The current plan is to utilize Lego robots and work in a comparable way to the high school team. So be sure and keep your eye out for information on those upcoming opportunities!

How can we see these cool robots they’re building?

Everyone should definitely come to the Roborioles Open House on February 3rd, 2016 at 6pm at Avon High School. They will be excited to show you what they will have been working on for their competition season at that point. Come prepared to be impressed by some amazing young problem solvers!

Also, be sure and like them on Facebook to stay informed about what they’re up to! Search for “Avon Robotics Team.” Feel free to contact Chris Hill with any questions or comments you might have: CMHill@avon-schools.org.


A great big THANK YOU to the educators who dedicate their time and energy to making this club a great experience for our kids! We appreciate you!