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May 13, 2014

Career Tech students band together to build robot

— Students at the Limestone County Career Technical Center mixed together synergy and ingenuity, building a working robot in a six-week span for the FIRST Bayou Regional held recently in New Orleans.

FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — is a nationwide program that promotes science, technology, engineering and math.

The Career Tech squad, known as Rockets Team 34, involved 29 students in grades 9-12 who are enrolled in gifted education, pre-engineering and career tech courses. The team is comprised of students from all six county high schools and Athens High.

Rep. Dan Williams, R-Athens, and state Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, R-Madison, provided a total of $10,000 in seed funding at the beginning of the competition season.

“This is a very rewarding program but can also be costly without the help of local business partnerships, fundraisers, grants and parental support,” said Monica McConnell, a team mentor and gifted education specialist at Career Tech.

Students led sub-teams tasked with preparing for regionals, handling everything from programming and presentation to strategy and scouting.

“This is a great program with lots of scholarship opportunities, real-life problem-solving applications and experience working in the field of engineering,” McConnell said.

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