A tip of the hat to everyone who pitched in to help the Umatilla robotics team pay for a trip to the national robotics competition in St. Louis, Mo.

The team, which this week made the trip halfway across the country by bus, needed to raise $15,000 in two weeks in order to pay for the trip. By the time the check was due, the program had raised $15,600.

That shows not only the generosity of the community, but the dedication of the kids on the team. Not only did they build their own functioning robot, for goodness sakes, they put in the work outside the lab to gain valuable life experience.

Sports teams are often credited with building teamwork and the pursuit of success in high school students, but it’s nice to see academic programs can teach the same things.

A kick in the pants to the?Stanfield School District for surprising its teachers and parents with news of painful cuts to the budget.

There’s no doubt the district has some big holes to fill. There have been signs all school year, including the hefty drop in enrollment and the consolidation of two kindergarten classes into one.

But the district has no reason to be surprised by the reaction from the community after it announced four teaching positions would be eliminated. There was no discussion about where or how to make the cuts. There were no alternatives presented. The decisions were presented as final.

There is a Key Committee that is supposed to communicate the district’s message with the community. It was left out of the loop, too.

Now the district has said it will look at other options, which is the right step. But it should have been a step taken earlier in the process.

A tip of the hat to Ryan Hayes, the Hermiston musician and member of duo Midas Whale who on Monday advanced to the next round of “The Voice” on NBC.

Hayes, who graduated from Hermiston High School in 2004, sings and plays guitar in the bluegrass-inspired folk group.

If you haven’t seen them, check out the site for the show on NBC.com or watch the knockout rounds next Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. So far they have played “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash and “Burnin’ Love” by Elvis Presley.

A kick in the pants to?CareerCast.com who, in a recent study, ranked newspaper reporter the worst of 200 jobs based on its physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook.

CareerCast’s top job was an actuary, a person who measures risk to calculate insurance and annuity premiums, reserves, and dividends. Fall asleep yet??I’m sure actuaries get paid plenty but life is for taking risks, not measuring them.

We shouldn’t pick on actuaries, though. They didn’t come up with this list that doesn’t take into account the variety, creativity, excitement and — yes, stress — that working for a newspaper entails.

So what is the real worst job in the world??I’d say working for a no-name career website that gets trolled once a year by bored bloggers who translate your dumb study into 15 minutes of social media fame. Zing!

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