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RRHS Launches Robotics Club
Rocky River High School is launching a First Robotics Club to offer students another activity option that touches marketing, social media, budgeting and, of course, robotics.

RRHS mathematics teacher Nathan Woos, club adviser, said he started the club to offer an activity that builds a sense of belonging and community.

“We feel that First Robotics, in particular, is a program that is dynamic enough to interest many different types of students, event students not necessarily interested by robotics,” Woos said. “The team will do more than just build and program a robot; we will also do marketing, establish an online and social media presence, manage a budget, and work with power tools. It is a team that should bring together a unique cross section of students.”

The club – which does not yet have a formal name – is a member of First Robotics, an international program. The program provides a regional mentor who oversees nearly 100 teams in Ohio and surrounding states. The RRHS team also will be paired with a veteran team in the area for guidance and mentoring.

The club, which recently held an open house at its Beach School home base, is open to grades 9-12 and has more than 20 students already committed. The program was made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Rocky River Education Foundation. Broadview Heights-based Ohio CAT, a Caterpillar equipment dealer, also is donating sponsorship dollars for supplies and contest registrations, as well as providing students with real-life context of how these skills are applied.

“Students will be working with professionals from all different fields, such as programming, mechanical engineering and marketing,” Woos said. “The multifaceted nature of the team is a terrific preview of what the real world will have in store for students once they graduate from high school.

“I am hoping that students are able to build a sense of identity, find their strengths and their passion, and hopefully learn enough during their time here at Rocky River to open enough doors to pursue it.”

First Robotics Competition holds an annual kickoff day in January, which starts the official build season. Students then have six weeks to plan, build, test and finalize a robot for competition, which varies from year to year. Woos said offseason is a time to deconstruct robots and prepare for future competitions.