Robotics team works toward future
Robotics team works toward future
Ken McLemore, Hope Public Schools
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

HOPE – The Hope High School Robotics Team is looking for some help a team mentor told the Hope Public Schools Board here Monday night.

“These kids have done a remarkable job,” HHS teacher and robotics team sponsor Kathy Knight told the board. “This is pretty-much a student-run program.”

Knight said the 19 members of the team have benefitted from volunteer help from HHS Assistant Principal Mike Radebaugh and others, but more is needed.

Interest in robotics among girls is also growing at HHS, and prospects have developed for a dedicated class on the subject next year, Knight said of the four-year old program.

Team leader Ben Knight said the group has entered competitions in Little Rock both last year and this year, with competition challenges changing each year.

This year teams were required to use their robot to maneuver through an obstacle course to deliver an object to a container which had only two possible openings, he said. Teams were required to build their robots using original component designs.

“It took a lot of engineering,” Knight said.

He said the team has been accustomed to improvising at each competition to account for unexpected conditions.

“We’ve always had problems the first day,” Knight said.

Typically, judges have been easy to work with in resolving problems that might otherwise affect the eligibility of the HHS robot.

“This year, we had a judge who just did her job,” Knight said. “But, she got in my face and told me that we got it wrong; everybody was dumbfounded.”

Stunned by the blunt attitude, the team regrouped and fixed the problem.

“We were told we had failed,” Knight said, adding that the HHS entry was not allowed to advance in competition. Instead, the team collaborated with other teams that did not advance to learn how to better compete.

“We decided to go back next year and prove ourselves,” he said.

That means the team will take the interim to build a competition base through sponsorships. Having already raised almost $400 through a car wash and the sale of popular “fidget spinner” toys, the team will also seek corporate sponsors.

“We all sat down to see if we could get some sponsorships,” Knight said. “They are divided into groups from bronze to diamond, with bronze having their name on a team banner to diamond having the name on the robot itself.”