Robotics team receives donations

Published 10:13 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2010

By Heather McGinley

Staff Writer

The Nansemond River High School robotics program received sizable donations from two local companies at their sponsorship dinner last week.

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BASF Corporation, with the Suffolk Education Foundation, surprised the team with a $2,500 donation, while Adaptive Aerospace donated $1,000. These donations, along with others, will pay for robot supplies and the team’s other expenses.

“The purpose of the dinner was to showcase the team, thank different sponsors from last year that had helped us compete and attend the world championship, and welcome those that are coming on as sponsors,” said Dawn Rountree, NRHS robotics team sponsor.

The fledgling robotics team competed in its first competition this year. Participating in the team helps students develop critical thinking, teamwork and engineering skills.

The donations will help the team make it to the regional competition at Virginia Commonwealth University, for which registration alone is $5,000. The team also needs money for supplies, parts, hotel and travel expenses for the students.

The competition gives students opportunities for real-world application of their skills, Rountree said. The time frame used for the competition is comparable to the work model used by NASA.

“Students have to buckle down, in sync,” Rountree said.

The team did not expect to receive donations at last week’s event, but the two companies decided to give the robotics team money right away rather than sending a check.

The team also has received $1,000 from New Horizons Education Center, $2,000 from the J.C.Penney store at Chesapeake Square Mall, $2,000 from BAE Systems and $5,000 from NASA.

If the team wins at the regional competition, they will have the opportunity to go to the world competition, but only if they can quickly raise the funds. The deadline for registration for the world competition is only a few days after the regional. Last year, the team was lucky enough to have organizations like BASF step in to help fund the $10,000 needed.

Rountree said the team appreciates the efforts of their sponsors that have provided opportunities so far.

“The competition is a little more than expensive,” Rountree said. “The opportunity to do all of these things is amazing.”