The kids who can't wait for school to start again

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2002

For Soldotna High School students that participated in last year's first robotics competition class, the excitement is mounting for school to start again.

"It's more than just the competition, we're excited because we're looking forward to a new class offering of robotics where we can have a little more lead time, we'll be geared up this time and expect to do even better," Bill Carlson, SoHi's drafting instructor, told the Soldotna Rotary Club recently during a demonstration of last year's robot that competed in Seattle, Washington.

According to Carlson there is already a waiting list of students who are anxious to get into the robotics class next fall. NASA who via the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska last year gave a $6,000 grant to Soldotna High School to get them started sponsors the national competition.


SoHi Robot on tour with drafting teacher Bill Carlson and student team member.

"It really takes about twice that much between $12,000 to $15,000 to get the team to the regional competition in Seattle," added Carlson. Carlson hopes that more of the $6,000 grants will become available to other schools in Alaska so that eventually the regional competition could be held in state. According to Carlson it's really a year round project to get the funds together as well as the planning and preparing of the curriculum. Soldotna High School was the first school in Alaska to ever participate in the competition, which required this year that a robot able to collect volley balls and transport them to a goal, be designed, built and shipped to Seattle all within a specified time frame.

The challenge and rules for this year's robotic competition will not be announced until fall. The SoHi robot is presently on display at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai, and demonstrations and presentations about the program can be arranged by contacting Bill Carlson at 262-8881.

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