Cyber Blue’s Motto is to leave the team better than you found it, and Steve Wherry has completed that task with Gracious Professionalism. For the past 8 seasons, Steve has been mostly the “budget man”, but on closer look, he has been so much more than that.
Steve has created a high level of student involvement in Cyber Blue. Through his math classes, he has recruited several students to become part of the program. Two of those students, Jason Kixmiller and Collin Fultz, went on to become Purdue FIRST scholarship winners, with Collin also becoming one of the first high school interns with our sponsor. Steve also recruited new members to create the team’s Public Relations sub-team; that team is now an integral part of what Cyber Blue accomplishes each season. Steve was also responsible for the formation of the sub-teams that make up Cyber Blue. Defined sub-teams allow several students the opportunity to develop as leaders.
Steve was also responsible for creating the Cyber Blue interview process. All students are required to submit an application and be interviewed for positions on the team. At the end of the season, he also organizes mentor input on students so that students can receive feedback during their interview for the next year’s team. This interview process was a key part of our selection as the Entrepreneurship Award winner at the 2006 Championship. The interview process has helped several team members become more confident public speakers; alumnus David Kelly said, “Before Cyber Blue, I hated public speaking, but after four years of interviews and design reviews, I have become a better speaker and feel more confident.”
Steve’s major role on Cyber Blue is managing the team budget. He keeps track of student accounts, pays the bills, and organizes the sponsor lists. He makes sure there is team money left for a few small senior scholarships each year and manages the finances for the Indiana Robotics Invitational.
Steve makes the team travel arrangements for air, bus and hotel accommodations. At times, he plans his vacations to our planned Regional destinations to check out hotels for safety and security of the team members. He keeps track of release forms and coordinates with other teachers when we students will be out of the building on travel. He is always willing to help a student with homework assignments if needed while we are away at a competition.
Steve has also been instrumental in the growth of the Cyber Blue Parent Crew. He coordinates with the parent leaders and helps organize the parent crew meetings during the year, and other teams ask our team for help and guidance to create their own unmistakable parent crews.
Many on the team call him “Momma Steve”, mainly from an incident in Florida in 2006. Several students ended up with the flu, and Steve stayed back at the hotel with them to help them get better. By Saturday, the students were all better, but then he had what they had been passing around!
Steve has written several scholarship letters for students and is always there to talk and listen if there are problems.
Although Steve’s job is mainly completed behind the computer, he is a key contributor to the ongoing success of Cyber Blue. Through his actions, the members of Cyber Blue have gained a respect for all of the support that is needed ‘behind the scenes’ to make the program work.
For all he does, Cyber Blue would like for Steve Wherry to be awarded the Woodie Flowers Award.