Thornapple Kellogg School District

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TKHS Robotics Teams Prepare for Competition

The first contest will be Jan. 13 in Jenison and the teams are hoping to compete at a Jan. 20 contest in Webberville.

This is the first year TK has two teams competing. Thanks to a Girl Powered state matching grant the high school was able to purchase a second robot and create an all-girl team.

Millie Rowan and Alexis Webster said they are enjoying being involved in the girl team.

“I had a really big interest in building and mechanics. A lot of girls aren't into that part of it,” said Rowan.

Webster said enjoys the math and programming aspect better. “We work together and we each have different strengths,” she said.

“If one little thing goes wrong, then it's not going to work right,” said Rowan as she checked the gears and wheels to make sure everything moved smoothly. Elizabeth Mol, Addison Satterfield and Annabelle Byers make up the rest of the girl's team.

The teams have to build a robot with an arm able to pick up, move and stack items in different locations. Webster and Rowan said they still have a lot of work to do making their arm.

TK teams have gotten a little extra help from some engineers from Challenge Manufacturing in Walker. Engineers have come to the school at least once to assist the students in building and getting their robots ready.

“It's very cool to be able to do this,” said Webster. “It's an opportunity to show girl power.”

High school teacher Donna von der Hoff said she's very pleased with the teams and how much time they've put into their robots.

“They get a lot of hands-on experience and even when we go to the competitions, they see what other teams are able to do,” she said.

The boy's team is also fine-tuning their robot and hoping to have a strong showing at the competitions.

“We had to order some new parts and we're still working on the arm and having it able to grab items,” said Avery Martin.

Collin Miller is the only returning member of the team from a year ago.

“I really enjoyed it. The competition is fun and different,” Miller said.

Martin said the teams have to work with the supplies they have available. “We're using old parts and we've been able to order some new parts, but we don't have everything we want,” he said. “We just have to make it work with what we have.”

Kaleb Mickletcher is the main programmer for the boy's team. “I think we'll be ready. We have a working robot, now we just need to finish the programming.”

The teams have been meeting two or three days a week after school since October in preparation for the competitions.