The Cass County Community Foundation Board of Directors announced a $21,000 special initiative grant today to support all Cass County Robotics teams. In announcing the special grant, CCCF President Deanna Crispen explained that the funding was a direct result of a meeting earlier in June with coaches and sponsors of robotics teams.
Crispen stated, “Last summer was our first year offering support to robotics clubs from the four local school systems through the 4H Fair match. A part of that initiative included a pre-fair meeting with participants to ensure that we could provide adequate space and power. Prior to this year’s pre-fair meeting, Matthew Snoeberger, Director of IT at Lewis Cass and robotics team coach, came to us and asked us about possibly securing a grant for $5,000 to purchase three fields to be shared by the schools explaining that if the schools had the ability to host competitions, they could work to be self-sustaining.”
During the June meeting, coaches were asked if the three proposed fields would be useful and to share their wish list for their programs. The result of their discussions revealed the real need for what is basically a “robotics kit”. The kit would contain all the equipment necessary to host a state competition without the added expense of securing or borrowing equipment. The coaches then worked together to compile a complete list of equipment from robotics fields and controllers, to tablets, monitors, cables and a sound system. The total cost of the package is close to $21,000 but Crispen said it is money well spent. She added, “With teams in all elementary, middle and high schools, the Board easily recognized the need for proactive support. The potential for our students to have hands-on career learning and experience through the robotics programs is huge and it comes with the added benefit of bringing people to our communities.”
Snoeberger stated, “Having the robotics kit will allow all Cass County schools to host state wide qualifiers at their local schools. This translates into funding for the schools robotics teams through entry fees and concessions. Instead of our students and parents driving an hour or more away for events, others schools will be coming to us spending their dollars in our schools and communities. For most schools, this one event will fund most of the season, taking the burden off the mentors so they have more time to work with what really matters, the students.”
“We are so very excited and pleased with the collaborative work of these coaches and sponsors in securing the equipment for our students. Their willingness to work together has produced a win-win situation for the over 230 Cass County students involved in robotics programs.” Crispen concluded.
For information about the grant or how to get involved with the robotics programs contact the CCCF office at 574-722-2200.
SOURCE: News release from Cass County Community Foundation