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Students build computers in boot camp
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Participating in a week-long technology boot camp are Shasta School sixth and seventh graders, from left, Ariana Lowery, Bella Avila, Kensey Cope and Violet Goods. - photo by GLENN KAHL/ The Bulletin

There is a structured technology “boot camp” going on this week at the Manteca Unified School District office campus on for junior high students from sixth through eighth grades.

Sierra High School teachers Larry Grimes and Steve Unterholzner are working with the students teaching them how to create robots that they will operate on a straight black line on the floor of the classroom today.

They used their school issued laptops to operate and to build the robots.

Four Shasta Elementary School sixth and seventh graders sat next to each other by the door with their robot frames on the table in front of them.  When asked what they hoped to do when they eventually graduated from high school, they mostly agreed becoming computer engineers would be a cool vocation.

The room was pretty much divided with boys and girls.  The boot camp — in its first year of operation — involved students from 15 different school. Instructors were constantly moving around  to help the individual students with any questions and offering personal guidance.

It was the students’ challenge to build their robots on a basic frame that came with four wheels and a battery holder to house four AAA batteries as the power source. The class ran from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. each day.

University of Pacific engineering professor Elizabeth Basha visited the class earlier in the week. She told students of the special technology activities and the current research projects at the Stockton campus that sparked the student’s interest even more in technology.   Also working with the boot camp is Dara Unterholzner who works as a digital support technician at Sierra High School during the regular school year.