Oak Ridge High School has a long and storied history of outstanding teams. From girls’ basketball to football, Oak Ridge High School has fielded winners. Next fall, add one more to the list.
Beginning in 2017, the Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) will be on campus, thanks to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation (ORPSEF) and Consolidated Nuclear Security.
Similar to JROTC, the NNDCC educates high school cadets in citizenship, promotes community service, and instills responsibility, character and self-discipline. Unlike JROTC, the NNDCC program does not receive federal funding and relies on schools to fully fund the program. CNS provided a $15,000 grant for start-up to get the program off the ground.
“We are so pleased and thankful for the partnership that we have with CNS,” said Bruce Borchers, superintendent of Oak Ridge Schools. “This new program will lead to more of our students attaining the seventh key in our Seven Keys to College and Career Readiness,” he added.
Deputy Site Manager Gene Sievers and CNS Education Outreach coordinator Kristin Waldschlager presented the contribution to Borchers and Jessica Steed, executive director of the ORPSEF.
Said Steed, “CNS’s contribution to offset the startup costs is an outstanding example of key stakeholders working with school officials to benefits student in Oak Ridge Schools.”
In addition to the check presentation, Sievers also addressed members of the Oak Ridge Schools Advisory Board and about high school 50 students who are interested in enrolling in the new program next fall.
Sievers, a former nuclear sub commander, described to the students what the NNDCC offered and how it could lead to a career in the military. He also said, even if the students involved in the program opted not to go into the military, the lessons learned would be valuable in any career path.
“Leadership,” he said, “is not a vaccination. “It is a process, and the Navy National Defense Cadet Corps, though its training, offers the path to leadership,” he said.
Texas and Tennessee have a history of working together. When Texas needed help in securing its independence from Mexico, it was Tennessee volunteers, led by Davy Crockett, who joined the fight.
Today, Consolidated Nuclear Security’s two sites—Pantex in Amarillo, Texas, and Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee—are working together to support hundreds of children in who are competing in FIRST™ Robotics.
FIRST, which is For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is an effort to get young people excited and involved in science and technology through robot games. FIRST is a national program designed for high-school-aged students who compete on a special playing field with robots they have designed, built and programmed.
“Students love games, and they love competition. FIRST provides both,” said Kristin Waldschlager, Y-12’s community and education outreach coordinator. “CNS believes in the goals of FIRST and is committed as a sponsor, both with funding and mentoring,” she said.
In addition to learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, students also learn about business, leadership, media and cooperation.
“This is exactly the type of activity CNS wants to support,” said Mark Cook, a CNS engineer and team robotics mentor. “This is one of the best activities to get high school students excited about science, math, technology and engineering.”
The students work together for six weeks leading up to the competition. Adult mentors guide the students as they work to perfect their robots for competition.
This year, CNS is sponsoring nine teams in Tennessee: L&N STEM Academy; Bearden, Clinton, Farragut, Hardin Valley, Oak Ridge, Roane County and South-Doyle high schools; and Webb School of Knoxville.
In Texas, CNS sponsored two teams—Amarillo Area Center for Advance Learning and Caprock High School. CNS also provided funds to the Bushland Independent School District for the 2016–2017 school year. These funds are being used to expand the program to the FIRST Tech Challenge for seventh through 12th graders and, eventually, a FIRST Robotics Challenge team for 10th- through 12th-grade students.
“Like in any sports, you don’t wait until high school to build athletes and team concepts,” said Bushland Independent School District teacher Jessica Patterson. “The same is true for education. You don’t wait until college to build engineers.”
In addition to her regular teaching duties, Patterson also is a robotics mentor. “Adult supervision is very important,” she said. “The adults set the tone. They are the experts.”
On that front, CNS engineers are a valuable commodity. Many volunteer as mentors to local teams helping to educate and support tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians.
Randy Dziendziel, senior director for CNS Development, said FIRST® is a “great program that teaches students how to partner, manage, communicate and think on the fly.”
This year’s competition schedule is set.
For Tennessee, the big competition will be the seventh annual Smoky Mountains Regional, a 50-team event March 24–25 at Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus. The competition is sponsored by CNS.
In Texas, teams will compete in regional tournaments throughout the state with the help of CNS funds.
CNS also supported middle school students at the LEGO League level by providing funds to the Bushland Independent School District in Texas and to the Jefferson Middle School’s EV3 MINDSTORMS® Boot Camp in Tennessee.
Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC is the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ “Corporate Philanthropist of the Year” for 2016. The award was announced in November at the annual Philanthropy Day Celebration luncheon in Knoxville. Accepting the award on behalf of CNS was Y-12 Site Manager Bill Tindal.
“Consolidated Nuclear Security and the more than 8,000 workers at Y-12 and at our sister site in Pantex in Amarillo, Texas, are proud of the work we do in protecting our nation,” Tindal said. “And we are equally proud of the work we do in helping our communities. This award focuses on the passion for caring our employees bring to our communities.”
CNS was nominated by East Tennessee Foundation, which described CNS as a company with a “desire to accomplish sound corporate philanthropy through investment in charitable causes and endeavors within the towns, counties and region surrounding their operations.”
ETF highlighted its partnership with CNS in the creation of the CNS Y-12 Community Investment Fund and the advisory committee comprised of Y-12 employees who determine priority or focus areas to fund, review grant applications and recommend grant awards. In 2016, $180,000 were provided to 30 nonprofit agencies in 10 East Tennessee Counties through the employee-directed fund.
Past winners of the Corporate Philanthropist award include Denso, Scripps Networks, Pilot Corporation and Covenant Health, among others.
If Brian Garrett or any other worker gets within 30 feet of heavy equipment at the Uranium Processing Facility project, a device in his hard hat vibrates to make sure he’s aware the equipment is in the vicinity.
UPF began using the MyZone proximity detection system as part of a mobile equipment/personal interface strategy to eliminate incidents between people and equipment.
“In addition to robust procedures, we also have this tool to help us achieve our goal of zero accidents,” said Garrett, UPF Environment, Safety and Health lead. “It gives people a personal warning to pay attention.”
The MyZone system consists of transmitters placed in vehicles and receivers the size of a pager that clip on to workers’ hard hats. A low-level radio frequency makes the receivers vibrate when they come within a certain distance of the transmitter.
Excavation began at UPF in September. Within the next few months, crews will remove about 300,000 cubic yards of soil from the future footprint of the facility, averaging about 120 loads per day.
UPF is using MyZone at the excavation site and at two disposal sites, where 15 constantly moving 45-ton articulated trucks load and dump soil.
UPF Project Director Brian Reilly and Construction Manager Matt Putinas have seen the MyZone system used on other projects and were advocates for adopting it at UPF.
“We are committed to minimizing risk to our workers, and the MyZone system adds another layer of protection,” Reilly said.
The folks at Y-12 know how to help each other succeed at achieving their mission, so when residents of Gatlinburg and the surrounding area were devastated by wildfires, Y-12ers knew just what to do.
Employees donated more than $5,500 to the American Red Cross and Consolidated Nuclear Security added another $5,000.
Collections across the site also resulted in a truckload of goods, such as Gatorade, water, toiletries, and food that was sent to the East Tennessee Red Cross.
Seeing the tremendous outpouring from employees at Y-12, the Bechtel Group Foundation donated $50,000 to American Red Cross. They also are matching any employee’s further contributions to relief efforts until Jan. 15.
The help from Y-12 did not stop there, however. Through a mutual aid agreement, Y-12 dispatched a fire engine, support vehicle, ambulance, and crews to help with efforts where the fire swept through the Gatlinburg area.