By Adam Testa, The Southern | Posted: Friday, December 18, 2009 6:00 am
Students at St. Mary’s Parochial School in Mount Vernon have a new opportunity to learn skills and apply their knowledge in thanks to a new robotics program.
Tom Stachyra, an eighth grade teacher at St. Mary’s, said a formal class will be offered in the fourth quarter, but students had the chance to learn from the best earlier this week when Carbondale’s Brehm Preparatory School hosted a one-day workshop for St. Mary’s students.
“The ultimate goal is to further science and technology in the community,” said Joe Viscomi, who oversees Brehm’s robotics team, which placed second in a top-tier regional competition last year. “Our students were mentoring and guiding them through the workshop.”
Students from St. Mary’s were divided up into small groups and each was provided a set of parts and mechanisms and assigned a specific task their robot must complete. The Brehm students worked with their junior high peers to accomplish their goals and compete with the other groups.
While Brehm competes on a level with NASA and other major engineering firms, Viscomi hopes to help St. Mary’s enter lower-level competitions where they will have a chance to also represent Southern Illinois.
For Stachyra, the experience is about more than competition.
“We’re giving them some other options besides being a football player or their other dreams going into high school. We’re giving them something where they can envision something and make it happen,” he said, noting a low turnout of American engineers in today’s business environment.
“We’re giving them experiences that are out of the box.”
Topic: Headline News, Professional Team Coverage, Robotics News Tags: None