The Stateline Robotics Club is much more than just building robots
Future engineers, programmers and business leaders at Hononegah Community High School learn skills and get first-hand experience as members of the Hononegah Stateline Robotics Club. Many students say they developed an interest in robotics during their early years of building with Lego. The team works together all year round; However, competition with other robotics teams is in the fall and spring.
Under the auspices of the FIRST Robotics competition and led by mentors and coaches Chris King and Daniel Boeckhardt, this year’s teams will begin building industrial-sized robots to play a challenging field game in alliance with other teams. They design, program and build the robot starting with a standard set of parts and a common set of rules for challenging head-to-head play. FIRST is described as the ultimate sport of ruthless science and technology.
“Students also learn how to collaborate and promote each other,” King said. “They learn how to design and build a brand and develop partnerships with their community while also raising money for special programs.”
Robotic competitions are not the only projects the team undertakes. During the summer months, members undertake a special project that helps others and improves their skills.
Four years ago, the team modified and improved a special wheelchair for Jack, a local boy with cerebral palsy. The wheelchair was named “Wild Thing”. By modifying the steering, improving comfort, and adding rubber wheels, Jack was able to play outside and be more active.
This summer, the team volunteered to adjust a wheelchair for Baylor, a young local girl with spina bifida. This chair is called “Wild Thing 2”. Baylor loves racing in her own chair and is able to be more independent.
The team plans to hold a toy drive to raise money for the wheelchair project. In addition, they are looking for sponsors.
In addition to engineering and programming skills, team members learn responsibility, financial and business skills, and how to work as a team. The team meets three times a week – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. They held their first meeting of the year in October 2023.
The Stateline Robotics Club is preparing for its first Mini-Bot Competition of the 2023-24 season, at Winnebago High School on December 2, 2023.
Postseason competition will be held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and La Crosse, Wisconsin in March 2024.
The team receives competition rules and strict specifications for building small robots. They have six weeks to design, build and test the robot before the competition. The Stateline Robotics team competes with clubs throughout the region. There are four teams from Honigah, two from Winnebago, and three from Rockford.
The ultimate goal is to compete in the first nationally sanctioned competition in Houston, Texas, in January 2024.
Future engineers, technology experts and scientists are getting an early start on making a difference in the world. Stay tuned.