My Help Desk Journey: A Reflection

As my third year serving as a Burlington High School Help Desk staff member comes to a close, Mrs. Scheffer wanted to have us reflect on what we have learned over the course of time here. I placed my reflection into a Movenote embedded below. Mrs. Scheffer, if you are reading this, it’s teachers like you that help impact a student’s life for the better and for that I am grateful. This is Burlington High School graduating senior Nathaniel Rippin signing off.


Rocking WPI with Robotics

Friday, April 10th, the BHS Robotics Team DevilBotz went to WPI to compete in the NE First District Championship Event. We competed against the top 60 teams from all over New England for 34 slots to the World Championship in St. Louis. This was the furthest the team has gotten within the new district model. After some great and not so great qualification rounds we were ranked 33rd in the competition in Avg. Score of Match and 49th in the region in qualification points. The long version of the scoring requirements and qualification requirements can be found on

Despite not being picked for an alliance for the final matches, we as a team are very proud of what we accomplished. We sit currently four slots away from St. Louis and look forward to qualifying next year. Please see a video below of the second highest scoring match from the regional championship. We helped out some awesome teams in this match. I look forward to next year where I can mentor my friends into becoming an unstoppable force of a team. As BayMax would say, “I cannot deactivate unless you say you are satisfied with your care.” (inside joke)

Double Eagle ILE Update 4/1/15

Over the course of the past few weeks, my business partner and I have developed a partner agreement. After numerous meetings amongst ourselves and legal council input we have a finalized version of our partner agreement, typed out below. It is something we are proud of and are signing in the next few days. We want our venture to flourish. For more information go to to see our company.

Double Eagle Partnership Agreement


With the establishment of Double Eagle Marketing as of __________________________, we the undersigned _______________________________ and _______________________________ agree to adhere to the following conditions as part of the legally binding contract that legitimizes the partnership.

-Unless a different ratio is agreed to beforehand, the default split for revenue shall be 50-50.

-If revenue is split in a ratio greater than 55-45 with TOTAL revenue exceeding $1000, the holder of the larger share shall treat the holder of the smaller share to one meal at the dining establishment of the majority holder’s choice.   The total cost of the meal shall not exceed more than half the difference of the greater and lesser share.

-Any business engagement that involves food and alcohol will have a two-drink limit for those involved on the business-side.

-If travel to a business engagement involves only one vehicle and has a round trip exceeding 30 miles, the driver shall be fairly compensated for gas by the rider(s) of the trip.

-When working on official business, partners shall agree to a 24-hour contact window regarding updates and/or change of plans.

-If one business partner is afforded a long-distance trip, a reasonable effort shall be made to include the other business partner in the trip. Note though, that the other partner may need to cover his/her own expenses and shall not be entitled to any compensation.

-Any expenses incurred while doing business shall be the responsibility of the person who incurred it, unless it was agreed upon previously that the expense was to be joint.

-Unless otherwise noted, official business attire shall be business casual.

-If a business partner is in school or a second job, academics/the second job shall take precedence until business can be seen as fully viable.

-The partners shall be allowed to remove and add amendments to the document as seen fit.

-The partnership agreement shall be good for one fiscal year before needing to be re-signed to ensure that both partners are amendable to the terms and conditions of the agreement.

-Both business partners shall share the equal responsibility of maintaining the company’s social media pages.

-If possible, both partners shall be present when interviewing any potential job candidates. Contractors are the individual responsibility of the partner who hire them, as they are not company employees.

-A Ford Transit shall be the company car of choice should the needs of the business eventually require the use of a dedicated motor vehicle.

-All successful business calls between partners shall end with an exclamation of “Da Bears”. Failure to proclaim “Da Bears” after a successful business call shall result in the person failing to proclaim “Da Bears” one drink of the proclaiming caller’s choice.



Henceforth, we the undersigned agree to the above terms in order to ensure the success of Double Eagle Marketing.


Help Desk Means Business

Thanks to Mrs. Scheffer for this wonderful title of my reflection.



The Help Desk in run like a business. Self sufficiency and workflows are at the heart of the program. I was able to continue my love of business in DECA, the BHS business club. We compete with fierce competition concerning many demographics of business. Topics range from quick serve management to fashion marketing to financial literacy and economics  My event I competed in was ENI, Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan. I had to write a 5 page paper and give a 15 min presentation to a judge. I did this at a district level at at the state level. I came in 2nd place in my district and 15th in the state. I did not get my ticket punched to Orlando, FL. However, with it being my first and last year in DECA at BHS, I felt I made both myself and my family proud. In order to showcase the awesome things my peers and I did while at the state conference, I made a highlight reel posted above for your viewing pleasure.

Dan Pais and Timmy Sullivan are going on in their categories to nationals in Orlando. Both of these young men are also in the Help Desk. We will them luck on the final leg of their DECA journey.

Reflection: Life as We Know It!

Learning how to effectively communicate with others is a skill that everyone should learn. Without the help desk, I would not be as great as a communicator as I am today. After some time in the help desk, I wrote a speech about communicating and going out of ones comfort zone below. Hopefully it shows the skills that I learned as a Help Desk Student.


Close your eyes for me. We are in a cafeteria during lunch. As you can see there are many students sitting with their friends. The athletes sitting with their teammates, the band students bonding with band students, the academics conversing with other academics. Look to the right. You see a teenager, sitting alone, eating his lunch. No one even says hello. You may be asking, Where are his friends? Why is he by himself? Or even, What is wrong with him? I was that teenager. Shocking, is it not?.

We need friends. It has been proven. How? There are those problems that you would rather die than have your family find out. You know, the ones about friendships, love, school, work. You name it! Who do you turn to when something is wrong? Who can you share secrets with? After a day of extremes, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and some movies do not always cut it. Now you are asking yourself, “Why does this matter?” Have you ever felt alone? Like no one cared? Because I have! Imagine others going through the same problems you are but with no assistance. It is a tough place to be in. It truly is. Everyone should have a friend, wait a minute, make that seven. Why seven you ask? One for every day of the week. Each day comes with its challenges. Either we roll with the punches or look like Evander Holyfield after fighting Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson is equivalent to life, as Evander Holyfield is us, and the referee represents our friends. Without of friends stepping in the ring, I do know if I would be able to hear.

Now the, “What is in it for me?” thought may come across your mind. Ever realised what comes with friendship? Over the course of my life, (yeah I know eighteen years is not that long) many things are due to friends. My involvement with the Boy Scouts, interest in robotics, uptake in business, and occupation all happened due to friendships. Friends are a great source of motivation and encouragement. You are more likely to listen to them then some adult figure. There are even times where we would rather spend time with our friends rather than our family.

This past summer I went on a three week tour of the Philippines performing for numerous organizations, T.V. shows, colleges, and the international press. Everywhere I went, I kept on seeing how students and young people interacted with their peers. Being the so called “Student Ambassadors of the United States” we took it upon ourselves to make as many friends as possible. Being famous in another country is great and all. We were consider celebrities yet being able to make friends with anyone is extraordinary. Wherever we went there were screaming fans wanting our autographs and the occasional crazed one wanting to get on the bus.  Despite this, the finest friends I made while on my travels were always the quiet ones.  The ones on the side, the ones you had to draw out, the ones that required more effort. Reason being, those who say little, can be the loudest. That kid who is quiet in math class may be the next Einstein, that kid who shuns the world may be thinking of the cure for cancer, people are numerous as sand yet unique like snowflakes.

There are people who are the outcasts, the shut ins, the ones who do not “fit” into the social puzzle. The ones who dread being alone or forgotten. I stand here before you today, saying go out there and befriend these people.  Some of my best friends today are those who were shunned by others. You may be thinking, “Who? Me? I can’t do that! My social credit would go down the tubes!!”  I am not here to say תיקון עולם (Tikkun olam), or to fix the world. We, as a united group of individuals, need others in our lives. As Forrest Gump says, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” or the phrase “Hui,” from the Hawaii (ha-va-ee) culture, that nobody gets left behind or forgotten.

As I imagine other cafeterias throughout the world, there is always someone with the same M.O. By themselves, reluctant to speak, shy, and in a self-dug hole. A self-proclaimed “wallflower” for lack of a better word. When spotted, approach them, and say, “Hello, my name is ‘Johnny’. May I join you?” A smile will be across their face in no time. An extended hand now will change things down the road. It does not take much to make a friend. Granted, getting the courage to say hello is daunting, but the rewards are numerous. Friendships can cause miracles to happen and mountains to be moved.

Now close your eyes again, Do you see that cafeteria again? There is no teenager sitting alone. Instead, he is seated at your table and you guys are conversing. Everyone is happy. You made a new friend and that teen now has a place to call home.

Make a friend, take a risk, because in the end, friendships do last forever.

Reflection: Leadership

I possess perhaps the most valuable personal quality, leadership. Being able to guide a group of people towards a unified goal is an amazing experience. Family Dinners taught me profound leadership skills, evidenced by  the stories my father would tell me when I was nine, the same stories I would embrace wide-eyed; these stories touched upon various life lessons, such as management and interpersonal skills. I believe these stories helped shaped me into the leader I am today.

Skills such as effective communication and leading by example have also extended my leadership repertoire and molded my identity into one fixed with a philosophy of constant leadership. When I was in U12 soccer, I wanted to be the fastest player on the field. Nonetheless, my body refused to cooperate, as my asthma kicked in and hindered my from fulfilling my athletic potential. Although indeed I was stemmed from running, I employed my leadership ability and assumed a position I was fit for, goalie. My friends told me I was a great goalie, ultimately increasing my self-esteem. I was lightly running around the field, but by the end of the season, I was able to run that much further. My coach took my skills and improved them, similar to how I plan to embrace the skills professors in college will surely hone. Rather than putting me off to the side as someone lesser, he made sure I was considered as equal as the team captain. This experience added a piece to my leadership philosophy. If someone has the passion and drive but their skills need improving, they should be placed somewhere they can excel. They should be considered as an equal,given the opportunity to show their skills and improve.

Another leadership experience I was fortunate to have experienced includes the time I was presenting at a educational technologyconference in New Jersey. We were in the lunch room eating when we saw the keynote speaker sit down across the room. My high school colleagues stepped away to speak to the keynote presenter for twenty minutes. When they returned, six high school students from another school were at our table looking at our presentation and sharing notes about real world project fostering learning. When I tell this story, I confidently state that I made six new friends that day. After my new friends left, my colleagues were amazed by this feat. I told them that talking to and bonding with strangers is something that comes naturally. They asked me to help them learn this skill in the workplace. On our way home I did just that by sharing concepts and viewpoints on our way home.

Being able to communicate and effectively make relationships is a skill I pride myself on. In order to be an effective leader one must be able to communicate information clearly and concisely. One of the highlights in my leadership career was my Eagle Scout project. I chose to rebuild a 120ft boardwalk at Burlington High School in a suburb of Boston. This boardwalk allowed students and the public easier access to the wetlands and the high ropes course on site. What was there before was a walkway comprised of rotten wooden segments that were in various states of disrepair. In order to replace said boardwalk I needed to raise over $3,000, present before various committees, receive approval from many parties, as well fund the project. I had to sit down with my mentor and design the boardwalk. The design had to go before school committee, conservation committee, and the building inspector. I hosted various benefits at local restaurants with procured raffles and a magician. Not only did I procure the materials, but also skilled professionals and volunteers. I was able to have contractors, the girls varsity soccer team, friends, and family.  I arranged to have local eateries sponsor breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Nevertheless, there were last minute changes to project, which only attest further to my leadership abilities. We had to move critical task locations due to a road closure because of a paving project. This paving project was unannounced to me or my crew. The original plan was to cut materials across the road and move them over to the build site. This was also hindered due to the paving. We had to move heavy materials long distances during the project. I requested access to the lightweight utility vehicle the district owned. I was given permission to use the vehicle if I could furnish liability insurance. I followed up with the district before my project to confirm this.  Upon arrival it was discovered that the vehicle was locked up and no one had access to it. Man power did most of the heavy lifting. The wetlands were flooding earlier in the season, we decided to use the functioning old pieces of boardwalk to span the gap between where the mud began and the start of the new boardwalk. Overall in the course of three days with a crew of 50 placing over 260 man hours we were able to finish. Being able to lead a project from concept to completion is a great learning experience. I learned how to take adversity and make it work as well as leading large groups of people.

My experiences made me who I am today. I still want to be like my dad.

These skills can help in the technology sector. I currently lead a staff of student ambassadors for College Interactive and run a marketing firm. Currently I have designed and created a website for my marketing firm. The Website is The leadership skills learned in the real world as outlined above have helped me initiate my endeavor as a business man. I have been subjected to things most students have not through my efforts and help from Mrs. Scheffer and the Help Desk. I will be writing about it more in my upcoming posts.

Hour of Code

In the world today more and more coding jobs are becoming available. Males are subjected more to coding than females. In order to satisfy both equations there has been a recent initiative by the name of Hour of Code. It is a movement to have students learn coding in one hour. Over the course of five days the program reached over 15 million students world wide. To date the program has impacted over 97 million people and counting. In 2013 over 10 million females were coding. This is more than all girls in the past 70 years. If these statistics are not proof enough, students have been raving about the program year after year.

This past week, I have been helping students with their hour of code projects. Students have been making games to cool activities such as “My Robot Friends” At conferences such as Edscape we did this activity and it was with rave reviews. Coding is a great initiative. One will need to know basic coding skills at some point in there lifetime. Why? The process of going through a problem and find the solution through certain parameters is a great skill to have. Also being able to find a problem that may be as small as a misplaced semi-colon takes patience. The skills learned in coding have numerous impacts in the workplace. I believe coding should be at least an elective at every high school. In grades k-8 students should be subjected to coding yearly to have a increased interest for occupations. Hopefully at BHS the rest of this years hour of code goes smoothly. I look forward to see what innovations the students come up with next. Till next time, Nathaniel RIppin.