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RCHS tackling robotics challenge
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A “Robotics Competition” involving business and engineering in Sacramento will involve 22 Ripon Christian High School students from all grade levels.

The team of Ripon students is competing for the first time in April learning to engineer and build robots in their inaugural year of the worldwide program.

The school’s Robotics Club has obtained informational and challenge packets to determine their course of action in the semester-long challenge.

The program’s acronym is “FIRST” – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – and Ripon’s team is known as FIRST Team #3669. It is an organization that was launched in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen and MIT professor Dr. Woodie Flowers with the goal of fostering interest among high school students in the engineering and technology fields.

The very first Robotics competition was held in 1992 in New Hampshire.  Since its inception FIRST has welcomed some 1,500 teams with 41 regionals across the country – spreading across the globe into 10 other countries.

Student team advisor Robert Kissee said his students will be gaining experience as they compete and expect to learn many of the nuances that are required to succeed. A teacher at Ripon Christian, Kissee teachers physics, metals, auto CAD and engineering.

Starting as a club, it is hoped that it will evolve into a class that supports a competitive team and encourages a passion for science and engineering.

The high school’s effort into Robotics has brought together not only students but mentors, parents and teachers to build a robot that will prove competitive as an invention in the overall program.  

Other steps in the effort include developing, organizing and maintaining a facility to research and develop robots, micro-control systems and engineering CAD animations.

The high school family is hoping to enlist the support of the community that will hopefully donate time, sponsorships and equipment to help the team to continue to inspire students to a higher power.

The Ripon team is being broken down into two parts, business and engineering.

According to the school’s outline, students will be elected into the positions of directors – one for each branch of the team.

It will be the job of the directors to communicate with all the committees within their branch and with both the Robotics director and the parent/mentor board to be sure everyone is current with the status of their team.  

Committees will be established in the organization that include leadership, finance, public relations, mechanical, electrical, prototype, 3D modeling and programming.

The leadership positions include robotics director, president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, engineering director and business director.

The high school administration was clear in its expectations from mentors for the program to be successful.  Experienced adult volunteers needed include those with expertise in engineering, pneumatics, electrical wiring, welding, programming, microcontrollers, finance, business practices, marketing, computer-aided design and fund raising.

It was noted that for the team to be successful there will have to be a highly motivated parent volunteer group.  They will be asked to coordinate food and snack needs for the students during the build season, plus transportation and travel to competitions and robotic events.

In order to remain eligible to participate, students are required to maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 on their report cards and no failing grades.  Students traveling with the team at away competitions will miss multiple days of school and are expected to maintain a 2.5 GPA.