This is a grant from The Awesome Fund, dedicated solely to student clubs and organizations, and funded by a generous Hopkins alumnus, a matching donation from his employer, and the family & friends of Ethan Lang
A $1,520 HEF Grant may not seem like a huge amount of money but for a growing robotics program, it’s a big long-term investment. A student from The Westside Rovers, West Junior High’s FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics competition team, requested the grant to purchase a full FTC Regulation Playing Field complete with competition obstacles. The Rovers is now one of three teams of eight students at WJH, with another team based at North Junior High, and all will share this portable practice field. Coach Geoffrey Boeder, WJH science teacher, says, “The field provides an authentic space for testing the team’s robot designs, coding and sensors as students prep for competition, as well as offering the ability to host outreach activities at all the district’s elementary schools.” These four junior high teams, one of which is the first all-girl robotics team at Hopkins, fill the gap between Hopkins’ long history of high school robotics – the Technocrats – and the FIRST Lego League teams at the elementary schools.
In addition to hands-on, engaging STEM experiences, Hopkins robotics is developing a strong legacy of mentorship. The junior high teams began last year when the Technocrats’ two captains, Arianna and Jenna, approached Boeder about helping them start a junior high program. In addition to coaching, Boeder is now FTC Robotics Program Coordinator, and The Technocrats have been instrumental in guiding and inspiring their younger peers. The program is excited to have grown so quickly and looks forward to continued growth in providing these positive experiences for Hopkins youth.
West Junior High School, Student Club: Westside Rovers
Submitters: Paul Bremer, student; Geoffrey Boeder, faculty advisor