Storm Draayer, Donavan Phoenix, Shawn Chambers, and Travis Kruse are working to raise money to form a robotics club and purchase a robotics kit at the Hayfield High School.
By Tara Lindquist
Students in the pre-engineering class that participated in the VEX Robotics sections of the class have set out to raise money to start a Robotics Club at Hayfield High School.
Marv Tjaden started the robotics section of the class this year, using the VEX Robotic kit that was rented from Riverland Community College. The students had to design their robot, program it to work using the Easy-C computer program and trouble shoot problems with the robot. "It's a lot of in-depth thinking," Tjaden explained. "The students really did a great job with their robot design and being dedicated to the project." The four students in the class, Donovan Phoenix, Travis Druse, Storm Draayer and Shawn Chamber competed at competitions in Albert Lea and in St. Cloud. In St. Cloud they placed 12th out of 36 teams that participated. "They were really proud of how well they did with it being their first year," he said.
Donovan Phoenix along with his dad, Scott decided to try to raise money to buy a robotics kit, so Hayfield can not only have a robotics unit in the pre-engineering class but also start a robotics club that will be open to grades 9-12. "The students have been going to local groups and demonstrating what the robot does and asking for donations." So far they have presented to the Hayfield Fire Department, the Hayfield Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club. They plan on presenting to a few more groups before they wrap up their fundraising drive. The Chamber has agreed to donate $500 to the school, that will go towards the purchase of a robotic kit, the fire department and the Lions club have also agreed to donate money.
It is the hope of Tjaden that the school district will pay for the rest of the portion of the robotics kit if their fundraising goal of $2,000 is not met. "The students have really been dedicated and are excited to get a club going." If they are able to purchase the robot kit, they will still rent one from Riverland Community College so they will be able to have two teams. "I'll keep teaching it as a part of the pre-engineering class," he explained. "The other one will be used for the robotics club."
The robotics unit seems to be popular and growing, this year there were only four students in the pre-engineering class; so far there are twelve signed up for the class next year. "I really think students have an interest in the design and thinking skills robotics requires," Tjaden said. "I think having a club will benefit the district by giving students another option for an extra curricular activity."
Anyone interested in donating to the purchase of the robot kit can contact Marv Tjaden at the Hayfield High School, 507-477-3235.