Ting Works and Holly Springs High School’s Robotics program
Christine Ottoni • April 22, 2018if( has_post_thumbnail( $post_id ) ): ?>
Holly Springs High School’s Robotics program
Engaging students in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) subjects goes beyond the classroom. Organizations, administrators, teachers and student leaders are coming up with new and exciting ways to help youth acquire life-changing interests and skills that will help them build work readiness.
At Holly Springs High School, the Hawktimus Prime Robotics Team does just that. This local student team designs and builds new robots every year to enter into state and national robotics competitions.
We got the chance to catch up with Andrew Pratt, the team’s 2017-2018 Sponsorship Captain, and chat a bit about the program’s history, their involvement in FIRST competitions (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and their sponsorship from Ting Internet.
The history of Hawktimus Prime and FIRST
In 2010, teachers and students at Holly Springs High School decided to launch a robotics program.
“The school teamed up with FIRST, the organization responsible for holding and creating the competitions, and created the Hawktimus Prime Robotics Team,” Pratt said.
FIRST is a not-for-profit founded in 1989. It creates programs to motivate young people to pursue educational and career advancements in STEM.
The FIRST robotics program challenges teams of students to raise funds and work together to build and program industrial-size robots. These teams take their robots to compete against other student teams, for a shot at the FIRST Championship.
The Hawktimus Prime community
The Hawktimus Prime team is open to all and any student interested in participating, including students from neighboring schools like Fuquay Varina High School.
“Our only requirement is that students come willing to listen and learn.”
The team mandate is “Plan. Build. Compete.” This is used as an overarching goal for students, student leaders, mentors and teachers to follow throughout the year. Other program goals include introducing new students to STEM.
“We want students to learn vital business, engineering and teamwork skills that can’t be learned elsewhere in high school.”
A team of about 30 students is supported by community volunteer mentors, teachers and student leaders. Students are divided into five teams: electrical, chassis, manipulation, programming and administration.
“We have several mentors that teach us the skills we need to succeed. These are generally parents, who use the skills they’ve learned in life and teach them to us, and some even stay after their kids graduate,” Pratt said. “Our primary teacher is Mr. Shahin, who has been an amazing mentor for our team and its students. His focus on the students leading has allowed us to become the best team we can be.”
The program serves to inspire students involved with the team, but also spreads their messages of STEM beyond their extracurricular hours.
“We do frequent demos with staff and students, and take part in curriculum fairs and club fairs, and even get featured at pep rallies during our competition days.”
How to build a robot
Preparing, planning and learning is a big part of the robotics program at Holly Springs High School. The team meets year-round. August to December is the preseason and student participants meet twice a week after school for three hours. The preseason is important for getting new members up to speed and teaching robotics best practices as well as preparing and planning for the upcoming build season.
Build season begins in the new year. FIRST gives student groups their competition for the year, and from there, the team has six weeks to build their robot. For those six weeks, students meet every day after school and on some Saturdays.
The team’s hard work, long hours and dedication have helped them succeed in several levels of FIRST competition.
“In the 2016-2017 competition year, we were the North Carolina State Champions, as well as part of the top-ranked alliance. We also made it into the top ten in our division at the World Championships in Houston, and we were in the top 50 overall,” Pratt said.
Sponsorship from Ting
Ting is always on the lookout for exciting local initiatives to get involved in and support. That’s why we’re a proud sponsor of Hawktimus Prime’s 2017-2018 competition season.
“Our sponsors allow for us to continue to work and prosper. They help us take part in competition every year and expand into our community.”
Sponsorship from Ting helped the team attend competitions and pay travel fees.
“(Sponsors are) getting us vital materials to continue our teaching goal over the next generations of members. It’s because of Ting and sponsors like them that Hawktimus Prime can thrive and succeed.”