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Robotics team to host open house, seek partners

November 03, 2010 - The Oxford High School Robocats are ready to get back to their robot winning ways after returning from summer vacation.

However, they need a few good businesses and individuals who are willing to partner with the program to provide support for the students involved with the program.

That is why on Monday, Nov. 8, the Robocats will be holding an open house in the East Gym at OHS for businesses and individuals interested in learning more about the program and potentially partnering with the Robocats this season.

"We are trying to form partnerships between local companies, either through sponsors or training for the students through material donation or teaching students valuable lessons through the workforce," said Nancy Zuccaro, one of the team leaders for the Robocats.

According to Jason Eldridge and Phil Kimmel, OHS teachers and Robocat advisors, when companies sponsor a robotics team, they play a large role in increasing the number of students pursuing engineering or technology degrees by exposing them to real world applications.

The program also gives companies opportunities to increase its community awareness, receive local and national exposure and give back to its community.

There will be two presentations - one at 2 p.m. and another at 7 p.m.

During the presentations, students will introduce what the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) program is all about.

FIRST Robotics is a multinational competition that teams professionals and students to work together to solve an engineering design problem in a competitive way.

The season begins in January with an intense six weeks of designing, building and testing of the robot.

They will also report on their past successes and demonstrate the robot that helped take them to the world championships in Atlanta, GA last year.

Robotic demonstrations begin at 2:10 and 7:20 p.m.

According to Zuccaro, there are different levels of sponsorships that a business or individual can have, from getting their name on a t-shirt and robot all the way up to getting their name placed on a banner and on any publications.

The Robocats are currently planning on attending two regional competitions and are expecting to qualify and attend the Michigan State Championship in Ypsilanti and the World Championship in St. Louis, MO.

Currently the Robocats have a solid 18 members in the club, but they are always willing to welcome more.

She added that they are anticipating new members to join the club now that the fall sports season is complete.

"There have been comments that there was interest," she said.

In September the group traveled up to Kettering University to participate in the annual Kettering Kickoff. Even though it was a competition and the Wildcat's advanced to the quarterfinals before losing, winning was not the main focus.

"The intent of the competition is to introduce new team members to the competition aspect of the program," Zuccaro said. "Several of our new team members participated in the preparation of the robot, driving the robot and field coach."

She added that the event was successful because "new members and parents experienced the intensity of the competition.

Those interested in attending the Robocats open house, should RSVP to oxford.robocats@liveedu.oxfordschools.org.

Please include name, business/company representing and number of individuals attending.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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