The Burke High School Robotics Team has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for their quest in the FIRST Robotics Competition, which kicks off January 9, 2016. Having already received a NASA grant to cover their entry fee for the competition, the team hopes to raise $10,000 to cover travel expenses and necessary materials to give them a competitive edge.
Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team in the competition. Mitchell Davis, founder of Charleston tech company BiblioLabs, serves as one of Burke High School AutoBots’ coaches. Aaron Whitney, a local software engineer, also volunteers with the team.
At the FIRST Robotics Competition kickoff, teams will receive a Kickoff Kit made up of donated items and components worth tens of thousands of dollars—and only limited instructions. Working with adult mentors, students have six weeks to design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. Once these young investors build a robot, their teams will participate in one or more of the Regional and District events that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.
The intense six-week time limit, along with the competition’s strict rules and limited resources, challenge the teams of 20 or more students to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get.
So far Burke has raised just over $3K of its $10K goal. The team is seeking donations from residents and members of the Charleston technology community looking to invest in the next generation of engineers.
To donate to their cause and invest in this excellent local high school program, go to their GoFundMe page.
You can also follow the team’s blog.