Dear CSA District Families
During Christmas Break, GEMS, the CSPA High School Robotics team, was involved in the nationwide unveiling of the FIRST Robotics game for the 2015 season: Recycle Rush. The objective is to create a robot that can stack totes on top of each other, place recycling bins on top of the tote stack and then place material to be recycled (pool noodles in this case) into the recycling bins. A video explanation of the game can be viewed here.
The nature of the tasks required determined how our team planned, designed and built their robot. The team’s goal was to do all this at a level high enough to win their two local district competitions and qualify for the State First Robotics tournament to be held in Grand Rapids over Spring Break.
Our Robotics team set extremely high expectations for themselves. During the winter, they built their Robot in the ASI Workholding shop in Howell. This is the fourth year that CSPA High School has had a Robotics team and the fourth year that team has been sponsored by ASI. We are grateful to ASI Workholding for their sponsorship and the mentorship that Allen Patterson, owner of ASI, has provided for our team. Over the past four years, the use of his shop and his mentoring has allowed our team to become very successful.
The twenty members of our 2015 GEMS Robotics team are:
Under the direction of our Team’s mentors Steve Ambrose, Carol Brenner, Scott Craig, Roger Day, James Garrett Sr. and Lauren Schleh, and CSPA High School teacher Kathy Revenaugh who contributed her experience with mathematics and technology, our team developed a working robot that can not only complete the task but do it at level high enough to compete with area schools that are significantly larger in size and robotics budget.
Our Robotics team competed in two district competitions. The first was held at Parker Middle School in Howell on February 25-28. Our school was the smallest school at the competition and our team placed first among the forty teams present! They came home with a winner banner that is now proudly displayed in the high school entry way. When the season is over, their banner will hang in the CSA gymnasium as a historical record of this amazing win.
The second district completion was March 25-28 at Churchill High School in Livonia, considered the most competitive district competition in the state. Reflecting on their amazing outcome in Howell, our team was confident that they could earn enough points in Livonia to win a berth at the state championships. Again we were the smallest school in the competition but our Gems Robotic team finished strong – fifth out of the forty teams present! And they earned enough points to move on to the state championship!
Our GEMS Robotics team is a great example of what we value at CSPA. The robot was designed and built by our students. They used their individual talents and collaboration skills to build a robot that is quite likely capable of placing at the world championships. What our student lacked in materials, they made up in creativity and hard work. Over the past eight weeks, they displayed an unbelievable amount of passion and invested countless hours. Their payoff was an outstanding showing at the two district competitions and a berth in the state championship at Grand Rapids. Just before Spring break we held a school wide parade as a send-off for our team to the State competition.
At the State completion over Spring Break, going into the finals, our Gems were the Captains of the 15th placed alliance. They finished the competition in 11th place and for the second straight season, earned a spot at the world competition. Let’s put this into perspective: Of the 325 robotics teams in the state, our team placed 11th. Truly amazing!
GEMS leaves today to travel to the FIRST Robotics World Championship that is being held at the Edward D. Jones Stadium in St. Louis April 22-25. At the beginning of the season, the team set a goal to not just go to Worlds but to place at Worlds. Our team has a good chance of achieving that goal.
For me, the best part of robotics is the inter-team collaboration. Even though each individual school wants to win, all the teams work together to get everyone’s robots working properly prior to the competition. The support that our students get from our mentors and all the other coaches in the area have helped them not only learn at a higher level but build the social networks so necessary as they become adults and enter the work force.
Our students love robotics and being part of this special program. The team is always looking for sponsors and business partners. If you or your business can sponsor our robotics program, you could join the GEMS nation. Please consider helping our state qualifying robotics team by sponsoring this amazing group of students. You can get an idea of what it’s all about from this video the team prepared last season.
In partnership with you,
Last Friday, four students represented CSA District at the 18th Annual Michigan State Charter School Spelling Bee at Trillium Academy in Taylor.
In the morning, Explorer students Desirae Krzeczkowski and Jessica Witkowski were among the 41 students competing at the Elementary Bee. In the right photo below, Jessica is spelling as Desirae looks on. Jessica placed 6th in the Bee and both girls had a grand time!
In the afternoon, Middle School students Lydia Jones and Kaelyn Parker were among the 50 students competing at the Middle School Bee. Kaelyn placed 2nd and Lydia placed 3rd! The Bee went four rounds. When it was down to three students, there were two more rounds. When it was down to two students, Kaelyn and another student went back and forth at least five times until a winner was named. So exciting!
All four of our students conducted themselves with poise, confidence and good sportsmanship. Congratulations to Desirae, Jessica, Kaelyn and Lydia for representing CSA District so well!