The Algonac Robotics Club received the Asset Award at the Algonac City Council meeting on October 18.
Pro-Team Mayor Michael Bempas presented the award to the club.
“The Algunak Robotics Club was set up in 2015 to give students more opportunities within a small community,” said Bempas. “It started with one team in high school and has since grown to include all four levels of FIRST, a program that encourages students to become the leaders of tomorrow by building STEM skills, confidence, teamwork, public speaking skills, and building relationships with other teams. “
He continued, “The Algonac Robotics Club is committed to providing STEM opportunities to students of Algonac Community Schools, and is committed to providing outreach to our community.” “Some of the outreach activities included working with Michigan Kids on the Move to modify electric wheel cars for children with mobility challenges, putting sandbags for elderly landowners during flood emergencies, and preparing and sewing nearly 500 cloth masks for members of our community during the pandemic. “
He also noted that the club will help out on Halloween at the Nac event.
Bempas said the Algonac Robotics Club teams consist of students in grades two through 12 that compete in two regional events each year. There are 11 members of the middle school team and 20 members of the high school team. There is also an elementary team, but due to the lack of training personnel, the program was not able to work this year.
Last year, the Algonac Middle School RoboRats had to cancel their regular season events due to COVID-19, but they attended the off-season Troy Hammerhead MAYhem event and came home with the first place trophy, as well as an Innovate Award for Creative Design, Creativity, and Thinking Outside the Box. They were also finalists for the Control Award.
The high school team, Full Metal Muskrats, competed in the Macomb District event, where they placed 18th out of 41 teams, and also in the Rochester event, where they finished 13th out of 36 teams.
“They have worked hard all season to compete with a great robot in the midst of so many setbacks and obstacles,” the agenda stated. Last year, they also awarded the first $500 Algonac Robotics Scholarship to Katie Emery. This award is only available to seniors in our robotics program.”
Bempas said the program is available to anyone who wants to join and has no cost to participate.
“However, with no funding from the school district, they are relying solely on grants, sponsorship and fundraising efforts to cover the costs needed to run this very worthwhile program,” he said.
Then he read the names of all the coaches on the team, and asked them to come to the front of the hall. Then he gave them a certificate.
“The City of Algunak presents this award to the Algonac Robotics Club,” he read of the testimony. “Algonac City Council is delighted to acknowledge the tremendous achievements of our youth. We are proud to celebrate the many outstanding achievements of the Algonac Robotics Club, as well as the incredible efforts that have been put into it. It is not just your innovation capabilities, but your efforts in teamwork, collaboration, and community outreach that make you leaders and role models, both inside and outside the robotics club.”
“We thank the many volunteer coaches for their guidance and dedication towards the improvement of all members of the club.” “We are very proud of your endeavors and representing the City of Algonac and the Algonac Community Schools as true champions. Congratulations on the work done. Keep up the good work.”
Those present at the meeting applauded.
Mayor Terry Stoneburner said she went into an open house at the Bluewater Area Robotics Center donated by PJ Wallbank Springs Inc. in Port Huron and learned “very little” from the students there.
“They run this like a business, they raise the money and they do the bookkeeping and they do everything,” she said.
She also said she saw the team laying sandbags for the residents.
“I’ve never seen such teamwork before, one person taking charge and boy, they brainstorm and figure out how they’re going to solve a problem,” she said. “I’ve seen him in action and he’s exceptional. With equipment costs so high and funding short, if you have what it takes to support these people, it’s worth it. You deserve the support of our young people in our community and our coaches. Thank you very much.”
The coaches said they are always looking for new members and coaches.
Board members also congratulated the team and thanked the trainers during the Board comments portion of the meeting.
“They’re an amazing group of kids,” said Stonebrenner.
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