The Robotics Club Needs Support


Arrowhead is known across the state for its exceptional athletic program, but many do not know about its clubs. The slogan “Something for Everyone” is seen in Arrowhead’s 35 clubs, according to the Arrowhead website. And one of these clubs is the Robotics Club.

However, the robotics club–that has lasted over 15 years–is now struggling to keep afloat, and could be ending in the next few years if they don’t get enough people to join the club.

Robotics meets every Tuesday in room 146 throughout the school year. The club has currently about 40 members. Fifteen of them are leaders because this is a mostly student run club, and the other 25 are regular members.

The main point of robotics is building robots. Students in robotics learn mechanical and programming skills. But according to Head of Public Relations  Junior Noah Reid, it goes beyond that.

“We don’t want to say we are all about programing and mechanical stuff,” says Reid. “We are a little bit of everything. I think any kid at this school can come to a robotics meeting, and we can give them something they enjoy.”

Robotics meetings include mechanical building, programming, multi media projects, computer hardware, public relations, leadership activities, and the business team.

The Arrowhead robotics club joined as the 706th FIRST robotics team worldwide in 2001 and have competed around the Midwest ever since.

They are tasked to complete a challenge given by FIRST. They have six weeks to build a robot starting the first Saturday of January to fit the constraints given by FIRST and complete the given task better than the other competing robots.

Over the summer, the previous supervisor of the robotics club, Anthony Christian, left the club to pursue other activities. Bruce Borchardt and Debbie Rypkema, both mentors who have been with the robotics team for about six years, are to take over as heads of the organization.

Not one teacher at Arrowhead wanted to lead the robotics team this year.

“I think there is misconceptions of what we do and what we stand for,” says Reid. “I don’t think we get as much attention as other teams like football or basketball because we aren’t a sport.”

Arrowhead supports the club with a significantly low budget. Because of the low funding, most of the money for robotics comes from local sponsors. They raise about $35,000 according to Business leader David Sternamen.

“Robotics is not a cheap club,” says Reid. “It takes a lot to have the equipment we have, travel costs, and to go to regionals, sectionals and nationals. We are like a small business. And that’s why the school cannot fund all of our endeavors.”

The club cost about about $30,000 according to Reid.

But some club members like Mechanical Leader Logan Sattell believe the club is looking up.

“This year we have an even more promising structure to the club, and we are set up to succeed. We have reorganized to better fit the people involved,” says Sattell. “It’s not dying, it’s growing.”

The club goes to businesses to raise money for the organization. The business team’s focus to build relationships with companies. Companies not only provide sponsorships, but also machine parts for us and provide mentors.

But one of the most important things to keep this club going is having a steady amount of people in the club coming in according to Reid. The club wants incoming freshmen and sophomores to be interested in the club.

“We need dedicated students that want to work for a club where it does mean something,” says Reid.

There are so many advantages to being in this club, according to every member of the team. Members like Junior Matthew Buth like how the robotics club is shown to the public eye.

“It (robotics) has shown schools across the county that Arrowhead isn’t just an athletic school,” says Buth. “All of us here are smart and can do many things.”

“Kids should open their mind up to what we have to offer,” says Reid. “They would really enjoy coming in, meeting with our team, and seeing where they fit in.”

“There is no way you can’t have a successful experience with 706.” says Reid.