Perry Township Schools
Students who attend Perry Township Schools are extended the opportunity to participate in classes and after-school activities that reflect a wide range of interests.
The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics programs is one of those programs, and it has a storied history as Southport and Perry Meridian high schools host competitive teams.
Southport’s team is known as CyberCards; Perry’s is Cyber Blue 234.
The teams spend a great deal of time in the design and building of competitive robots in a strict six-week time frame. Meetings began in January, and students can spend more than 20 hours per week in the lab.
The squads are composed of 25 to 30 students who have a strong interest in science, math, engineering and technology. Each team has a teacher sponsor: Andy Nuetzel, Perry, and Mike Taylor, Southport. In addition, there are 12 mentors for each team who volunteer to provide technical assistance. The mentors are as committed to the program as the students.
Each year there is a theme – it’s recycling this time – established with specific tasks that each robot must accomplish within a specific area and time limitations. Points are earned by completing specific tasks.
Robots from three schools work together as a team and compete against another alliance of three robots. Robots score points by stacking plastic containers and trash cans. In addition, robots are challenged to place “trash” (pool noodles) in the cans.
Supportive parents provide a weekly meal for their respective “robotics family.” Because the build season can be stressful, breaking bread with one another helps to place those challenges in perspective while strengthening friendships. Both teams agree that they consume a lot of pizza during January and February.
Both squads will compete Feb. 28 and March 1 at Lawrence North, March 13 and 14 at Kokomo and March 20 and 21 at Purdue. Theirs goals are to qualify for the Indiana and FIRST world championships.
As part of their community outreach activities, the teams hold demonstrations, lead specialized learning experiences for younger students and host informational tables at public events like Coach Hathaway’s Running South.
Participants are serious about their academic courses. The robotics program boasts a 100 percent graduation rate for team members. These students go on to pursue their career dreams either in college, vocational schools or by serving in the military.
I would like to thank the mentors who volunteer countless hours to this valuable program. I would also like to thank the parents of the students on the teams for their rock solid support.
This program and others influence student career choices, build confidence, elevate self-esteem and set the stage for lifelong relationships. These programs enrich and enhance our academic environment to help make Perry Township the grade A school district of choice.
You may follow the CyberCards on their blog at frc1529.wordpress.com. and Cyber Blue at www.cyberblue234.com.