High School robotics team recognized at MCSB meeting - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

High School robotics team recognized at MCSB meeting

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Muscogee County School Board gathered to address several items Monday night.

First, it approved the 2016-2017 school calendar, one of two options, by a 6-2 vote.  

Following that, board members at Monday afternoon’s meeting discussed potential plans to increase the school district’s revenue.

Via redevelopment projects; specifically, the possibility of signing onto the city council’s plan to add four new tax allocation districts - where real estate property taxes would fund specific long-term improvements - in Columbus by 2017.

After some spirited conversation, something unusual yet marvelous caught the board’s attention.

Columbus Space Program’s Team 4188, and its mechanical companion, Westrock, appeared before the members and the crowd to receive recognition for its participation in March’s SteamUL8 robotics festival held in the Chattahoochee Valley.  

A collection of the sharpest minds from Columbus’ high schools, Team 4188, all work toward one goal: building industrial-grade robots, capable of beating similar machines at the FIRST Robotics competition.  

The School District also wanted to honor the team’s efforts to spread the benefits of STEM – now STEAM, to include the Arts education in the community.

Over the course of six weeks, Team 4188 designed, fixed and finished assembling a 120-pound fighting machine on wheels.

Westrock, the team’s practice robot, and Starry Night, the team’s competition bot, helped them earn the finalist’s medal at the

2016 FIRST Robotics competition in Huntsville. That, in turn, helped them secure a spot in this year’s 2016 World Robotics Championship in St. Louis.

Ashita Patel, the team’s expert welder, said this experience she’s shared with her teammates strengthened their collective love and passion for computer science, and also, the bond between each other.

"I love my team,” Patel said. “I can honestly say I’m going to be keeping in touch with these people for many, many years to

come.”

Frank Braski, President of ColumbusMakesIT, a local entrepreneurship center, urged board members to allocate resources to fund coding, robotics and general computer science education for kids in local elementary and middle schools.

Braski, a product of the Muscogee County School District, said he wants the district to integrate the lessons learned in computer science so kids can compete in a future job market.  

"Talent is evenly distributed,” Braski said, but opportunity is not.”

“We’re trying to make it so there’s more opportunities for more kids because we need their help.”

Team 4188 needs help raising funds to get to St. Louis for the World Championships. You can donate through their GoFundMe page.

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