Promising start for Montco robotics team

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A group of Montgomery County middle school students is taking the world of robotics by storm.

The robotics team at Eisenhower Science & Technology Leadership Academy in Norristown has won a spot in the World competition.

And this is the first year they've even had a robotics club!

The two robots known as 255A and 297A are the design of four middle school students. It's extraordinary, given the fact they didn't know anything about robotics until last summer.

"They had to learn things like engineering, science facts, center of gravity," said teacher Kathie Crede.

Eisenhower Academy decided to start a Robotics Club last year, and four brave 8th graders accepted the challenge.

They are Frankie Fernandez, Tony Zevallos, Imer Vasques and Dante Puleo.

"My point of expertise is building the robots, designing them," said Imer.

"I build, I program, I help others," said Tony.

"I drive the arm, most of the time I'm responsible for the scoring," said Frankie.

The Action Cam caught Dante sacrificing 297A "for the greater good of the team."

Dante is dismantling 297A and rebuilding a new, taller robot that will be able to win more matches, like the victory by 255A last weekend at a VEX Middle School Robotics Competition in Downingtown.

Eisenhower was awarded the coveted Excellence Award.

"The excellence award is given to teams that put on a good, excellent all-around robotics program," said team advisor Beth Roth.

"In this community sometimes they only show the negative. And this is something very positive that people need to see," said Ernest 'Tre' Hadrick, the Robotics Club assistant coach.

Last week's victory secured Eisenhower a spot at the world competition in Anahiem, California next month.

"I never thought we'd get this far," said Tony.

The team still needs to raise $8,000 to go to Anaheim on April 18th, and they still need permission from their school board to make the trip.

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pennsylvania, education, school, teens, local/state, lisa thomas-laury
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