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Verizon gives $5,000 to Bluestone robotics / October 23, 2013
The Verizon Foundation presented the Mecklenburg County Business Education Partnership with a $5,000 grant to support the FIRST Robotics program at Bluestone High School for the 2013-14 school year. Verizon has long been a supporter of Bluestone’s robotics team. Once again, Steve Cronemeyer, manager of Government Affairs for the company was at Bluestone to present the donation.

The Robotics program was started in 2003 by Dr. Carol Inge of Longwood College and the MCBEP and has been going strong as an afterschool program ever since.

Betsy West and Tracey Ellis help spearhead the group of exceptional students along with a team of volunteers from businesses, parents, and teachers. The robot (that has been named “SKRAPPY”) is assembled from a kit of parts that is purchased from the FIRST Robotics program.

West said the kickoff for this year’s competition is Jan. 4. The kickoff marks the beginning of the design and build season. Team members traveling to Hampton Roads will have the opportunity to compare notes, get ideas, make friends, find mentoring teams, learn the game, pick up the Kit of Parts, and get geared up for the exciting competition season.

The Bluestone team designs and builds the robot to perform a specific task that is designated by FIRST Robotics. Robots from all over the region then compete at Dorton Arena in Raleigh, N.C. to determine which entrant performs the task most efficiently.

Last year the Bluestone High School had the number one performing robot in terms of shooting accuracy, West said, placing fourth overall beating 51 out of 55 teams! Creativity, enthusiasm, ingenuity, and teamwork shine through during all aspects of the program. Due to their success last year, West decided to expand the students’ opportunities to compete. In addition to their regular match in Raleigh, for the first time, the Robotics team will also compete in Myrtle Beach, SC.

The students take great pride in their “creation” and are always eager to give a demonstration. They encourage everyone to visit the program.

The Mecklenburg County Business Education Partnership, Inc. wishes to express its gratitude to the Verizon Foundation for their continued support of the Robotics program and education in Mecklenburg County.

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