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Robotics Team at Boone County Schools Wins Grant

Some clever kids at Boone County Schools are getting some help from a new grant.
The school district's PiBotics team received a $3,500 grant from the Staples Foundation, the charitable arm of the office supply chain, through its "2 million and Change" campaign that distributes more than $2 million in donations each year.
“Our program encourages the collaboration of students and technical mentors from a wealth of local organizations, enabling our students to engage in networking opportunities and hands on robotics design, construction and programming with industry experts," said the district's robotics coordinator Beth Koch. "Students actively participate in a myriad of roles which define the PiBotics Team, including design, engineering, maintenance, marketing, operations, coaching, logistics, programming and scouting. A successful season concludes with the completion of a robot which performs the challenges identified, developing students' interest in and understanding of STEM career fields."
The funds will be used to purchase tools and equipment, updated technology, and raw materials for robot construction, as well as marketing and event expenses, Koch said.
“The PiBotics Robotics Team is a program which enables students to work with technical, financial, business and education mentors to design and construct a commercial grade robot, program the robot microcontroller in C++, manage and fundraise for a $45,000 budget, and design marketing apparel and materials,” according to Koch. “This fits with Staples's focus of academic education because students participating on the team are eligible for academic credit in robot applications through a minimum 65 hours of participation and completion of a portfolio.  The program also fits with Staples's focus on job skills because students are working with industrial grade equipment and technical mentors on a team arranged as a business organization, and they acquire necessary business communication and organization qualities.  At the completion of three years and participation on both the team and related online classes, the students will be eligible to take the KOSSA exam in robotics for industry certification. 
"Additionally, through their participation in the program, students are eligible for college scholarships and technical internships.”
-Staff report
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