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Mason County Central robotics team prepares for competition

January 24, 2019

SCOTTVILLE — There’s a new activity at Mason County Central High School and a new team for students and teachers to root for, as the school’s robotics team begins its first competitive season.

The program is spearheaded by high school science teacher Jason Stanick, who teaches a robotics class and coaches the team. He spoke trustees on the district’s board of education Monday about the robotics team’s progress and goals for the season and beyond.

“We’re now participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) through the high school,” Stanick told the board. “It’s open to any student, grades nine through 12, and they can come out and be a part of the class or the team.”

Stanick, who joined the district in August 2018, has been working with students to form a robotics team since the start of the school year, and now the task of constructing a working robot for competitions throughout the year has begun in earnest.

He teaches a robotics class during first period, and holds after-school practices on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in preparation for the team’s first competition in March.

Participants are building a robot that has to meet certain specifications in order to be eligible for competition.

“It’s one robot, it has to be no more than 125 pounds and it has to be able to perform a task,” Stanick said. “And with this year being the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, it’s all space-themed.”

Stanick said the students have six weeks to build the robot, adding that the team will head to its first competition at Muskegon’s Orchard View High School on March 14. After that, the team will compete at Forest Hills in Grand Rapids on April 4.

He said it’s been a rewarding experience to watch the students work together and find practical applications for skills and knowledge gained in previous classes and activities.

“It’s awesome watching these kids learn how to do it themselves. They’re learning how to code and how to program.” Stanick said. “There’s teams from all over the state that do this. It’s kind of worldwide. There’s a lot of money going into this and a lot of scholarships.”

Read the full story in Wednesday’s print or e-Edition of the Ludington Daily News.

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