Robotics takes off at Clinton-Massie

By Diana Miller - For The News Journal

CLARKSVILLE — The Ohio School Boards Association recognized Clinton-Massie High School’s Robotics Club as one of the top three “On Going Programs” in the southwest region during its fall conference Oct. 8 at the Warren County Career Center.

Club members have also been invited to present their work at the Leadership for Learning, Ohio School Boards Association 2015 Capital Conference, where approximately 10,000 students, educators, and educational leaders are expected to attend. The conference is Nov. 8-11 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Clinton-Massie’s robotics club was founded in 2011 at the middle school level and the following year transitioned to the high school level in order to afford students the opportunity to compete with students outside their school community.

Massie’s club is composed of 12 to 15 students interested in robotics, engineering, and science in general and begins meeting after school and often times on Saturday beginning in October. The building season begins the first Saturday in January when the FRC (First Robotics Competition) game is revealed. Each club receives guidelines for various competitions and builds its robot while adhering to those guidelines. Students learn to collaborate and work as a team as they work together to build their robot to the outlined specifications.

Students have six weeks to build their robots from scratch and prepare for competition. During the building period, the club meets three to four times a week and then competes in the Queen City Regional event held in Cincinnati.

Club adviser Dale Williams began serving as a FRC mentor in 2001 when his son was just two years old. At that time, Williams mostly focused on programming aspects of the robot—working with students to write software to control the robot. That first team was number 158 “The Cobras.” Williams has also worked with team 144 “The Rock” at Colerain and 1038 “Thunder Hawks” at Lakota. Clinton-Massie’s team is known as 4115 “Team Breaking Lights.”

According to Williams, “The educational process has to be about more than teaching facts and figures. It needs to inspire and motivate and show that every student can achieve much more than they possibly think they can achieve,” and while working with robotics teams over the years, Williams has seen this first hand.

Williams encourages parents of various backgrounds to get involved, as club members need help with everything from software, to machining and manufacturing, advertising and fundraising, and providing meals for the late work sessions.

Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for several area schools.

By Diana Miller

For The News Journal