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Robotics Camp Gives Syracuse Students a Chance at National Competition

Christian Bersani/WAER News

Middle and high school students in the Syracuse City School District are taking time during their summer break to learn what could be a high-tech job skill. Starting from scratch, students combined metal with gears, motors, chains, batteries and remote control signals to produce mobile contraptions during a two-week robotics camp.

Friday students showed off their creations at Nottingham High School and competed in a local S.C.S.D. Regional Robotics Championship for the chance to advance to the world competition. Nottingham rising senior Justus Lacey is a former world championship competitor from last year.  He says the camp provides a hands on experience for all students who wish to step up to the mechanical challenge.

“Basically we start out from scratch with metal and then we have various parts of gears, motors, the brains and stuff like that and we just have to build robots , complete the task we’re given.  Each year is different.  Last year we had sacks we had to move all across the field and get them in different places to get different points.  This year we have balls, we pretty much have to move them again, but there’s different obstacles this year.”

While Lacey is undecided about pursuing robotics professionally, he says building his robots have educated him on both computer coding and the engineering process.


On the other hand, Corcoran rising junior Malik Warden is more certain that robotics is in his future.

Credit Christian Bersani/WAER News
Middle and High School students worked on robots in a summer program

“I can see myself working robotics.  I most definitely find this fun; it’s a great thing to do.  I love building anything pretty much and I plan on, when I get into college, major in mechanical engineering so this is a great experience for me.”

The camp was sponsored by grants from the Syracuse Educational Foundation and Lockheed Martin through Project Lead the Way. The school district has now expanded the robotics program into every middle school.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.