In 2008, Nonnewaug High School established a FIRST Robotics team due to the commitment of advisor, Mr. Murphy. We wouldn’t be able to function today without his dedication, enthusiasm, and inspiration. As a well-known teacher at Nonnewaug, Mr. Murphy was able to communicate to his students and the entire school the importance of science and technology. He is the reason that our team has more than doubled in size in the past four years. Many of our team members were recruited because Mr. Murphy really speaks to students in a way that gets them excited to learn more. In 2012, Mr. Murphy reached out specifically to a foreign exchange student from Thailand. Seeing that she was interested in science and technology Mr. Murphy encouraged her to join Team Beta. She has expressed that being on Team Beta has been the most remarkable part of her Nonnewaug experience and which inspired her to pursue a career in engineering. Mr. Murphy is a huge believer in working with students to solve real world problems. He uses robotics as a way to teach all students about physics and math by working through each problem with them, never just doing it himself. This way, students learn to be independent and productive.
Mr. Murphy is an advocate of inter-team communication. He schedules and runs many meetings outside of the regular build season meetings. To make sure that the connection between students and adult mentors is kept strong and on an even playing field, Mr. Murphy holds Mentors and Officers meetings once a week. This time is used to plan future meetings for the entire team as well as resolve any issues. Mr. Murphy always ensures that decision making is put into the hands of the students and that every choice is a fair one. He believes that the key to a smooth running team is one that converses well amongst all team members. He also focuses on team unity, to reinforce this he organizes a team building exercise at the beginning of all off season meetings, as well as ensures that the team has the opportunity to eat dinner together during build season. This time allows the students to really learn how to effectively communicate with one another, which greatly benefits us throughout the year.
Mr. Murphy is truly an inspiration to everyone on the team, students and adults. His dedication has always been astounding. His commitment to Team Beta never wavered even while planning his own wedding, buying a house and earning his master’s degree. His unshakeable passion for the team is what keeps us running through hard times. He is always calm and composed in times of crisis, but appropriately enthusiastic the rest of the time. Mr. Murphy has made it his life mission to inspire and educate. He ensures that students and mentors take the high road and never the easy way out. He has always inspires everyone to think outside the kit of parts.