Marion Eagle Engineers compete in first year of robotics

March 14, 2019

By John Raffel

Robotics has come to Marion High School.

“This past January, Marion High School introduced Robotics as an extracurricular activity,” Ron Schmidt, an Industrial Technology teacher at Marion and one of two robotics coaches, said in a press release. “Students were a little shy at first, since many kids had no prior experience to robotics and hands on technology. After just a couple days, word was spreading the halls and students were coming to meetings and beginning to take on key roles for future competitions.
3-15-19 MP Marion Robotics robotics 5
“Well, that time has passed and now Marion Eagle Engineers are competing in their rookie year.  A total of 12 active students have joined forces to create a robot that has to do a number of activities in the FIRST Robotics Competition: DEEP SPACE 2019.”

Tony Baldwin, Math and Technology teacher, is the coach working with Schmidt this winter to lead the students into competitions.

Students join forces to create a robot that has to do a number of activities.

Students join forces to create a robot that has to do a number of activities.

“There is a lot of information and items that need to be learned and completed each time we meet,” Schmidt said. “We have watched several online videos, taken tours of local manufacturers, bought many new tools and equipment.

“It worked out that our school was able to collaborate with Reed City’s robotics team in January at an all day Saturday training. This really helped us to get an edge on the competition, despite having almost 20 lost days of work due to snow days.”
The group meets after school from about 3:15 to about 5:15 p.m.

“We try to make this time a good experience with hands on engineering, lots of computer technology and paperwork including seeking sponsorships, getting banners and shirts for team members, Schmidt said. “Of course our main focus has been building a robot that can compete at the competitions and allow any student that may be thinking of a career in the Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (S.T.E.M) to come investigate.

“Our first competition took place at Battle Creek Lakeview High School and was a three-day event (March 7-9). Students were excited to attend this event and we really worked hard as a team. It shows. After our first event we are ranked at 189 out of 542 teams from Michigan Schools. This week we compete at Muskegon. We have an opportunity to keep competing with going to state and World competitions if we win enough matches. No matter how far we go this year, we have learned to work as a team and have picked up many amazing life skills.”

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