JETS team gets new head coach

Keith Kraeplin, Project Lead The Way teacher at West, has become the new head coach for JETS now that Dominic Audia has stepped down.

Jack Alden, Reporter

Junior Engineering Technological Society, also called Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science, is a competition hosted yearly by the Technology Student Association. The competition has three parts to it: an essay, a multiple-choice test and a build challenge. The West High club that participates in this competition used to be led by Dominic Audia, but since Audia no longer works at West High, Keith Kraeplin has taken on the role of head coach. 

Kraeplin teaches Project Lead The Way classes at West. He heard about JETS five years ago when he first started working at West and he slowly became involved in it. 

“Then, just kind of working with Mr. Audia and him just telling me, you know, about the club and stuff like that. You know I just kind of learned about it in that way. And then I just kind of offered myself to help out with it too,” Kraeplin said.

Although this is his first year as head coach he has been helping with JETS for a while. 

“I think it was kind of I’ve always kind of wanted to take more of an active role with it. And so I think, as opportunities kind of came, you know, Mr. Audia would be like, ‘hey, I need help with this’ or whatever. And so, my schedule allowed, you know, I’d do it,” Kraeplin said.

Kraeplin pointed out that there is a lot to running JETS that people do not realize. 

“It is like, a lot of work behind the scenes though, too, that I don’t think students see as far as like planning and coordinating a lot of things. You know, there’s, you know, it’s everything from like the registration, you know, and planning those things out to organizing meetings.” 

However, he is not without help as Mr. Audia is still helping with the club while doing his new job for the district. 

“That was kind of the agreement when he kind of took the new position and he’s like, ‘Hey,’ he’s like, ‘I’m still gonna be around I’ll still be able to help out.’” Kraeplin said. “He just provides a lot of insight so he’s, in a lot of ways, still very involved.” 

Kraeplin has been enjoying helping with JETS. His favorite part is watching students come up with different ways to solve the challenges. 

“What’s kind of fun about it, too, is watching them, you know, come up with a solution with things that you’ve taught them. So it’s kind of fun to like, see them recognize or pull from that resource to do that. But at the same time, too, it’s fun to see how creative that’s the real fun thing is watching to see how creative students can be when it comes to problem solving.” 

Kraeplin believes it is important and good for teachers to be involved in more than just the classroom. 

“I wanted to be involved in more than just the classroom with students too. I think that’s really important as far as an educator.” 

Overall he feels JETS is a great activity for students to be involved in. If you are interested in joining this year you should email him by early January before the essay is due.