Robotics club embraces WWII theme at event

The St. Theresa Robotics Club tackled recycling as a project for the National World War II Museum’s 2013 Robotics Challenge.

The event was held Saturday at the New Orleans museum.

The Robotics Challenge required fourth- through eighth-grade competition members from different schools to complete projects, based on real-life scenarios during WWII, in three main categories: a poster with a catchy slogan, a press release that described the goals and details of the Robotics Club campaign, and a TV commercial.

There was also a Robot Mission that requires programming of robots to complete the tasks on a special mat that ties into the WWII theme.

The St. Theresa club decided on a “Recycle Style” theme, using items discarded material from school’s cafeteria.

The project that was chosen by the Robotics Club to encourage the student body to recycle, a news release from the school says.

To help educate the members, the club contacted Mary Delapasse, a Keep Baton Rouge Beautiful executive director, and Don Hysell, the Lamar Dixon-Expo Center sales and marketing manager and Ascension Parish environmental manager. Both discussed area recycling programs.

The club’s recycling efforts included setting up trash cans in the cafeteria for students to put empty water bottles and aluminum cans.

Robotics Club members have the responsibility to sort and clean collected materials which is then brought to be recycled at the Recycling Road Show at the Prairieville Wal-Mart and at the Southside Recycling center. As an added bonus, the Robotics Club received money from the recycled cans.

The recycled program has already shown a significant difference. Sue Wiggins, cafeteria manager, said she sees half as much material in the trash since the students implemented the recycling program.

“I love how we have reduced our trash by half just by recycling,” Wiggins said.

One of the most popular parts of the competition projects was making the television commercial video. Club member Maggie Britton rewrote the words to parody a popular song and video, and the club members each memorized their individual parts. Extra students from the school were recruited to perform a dance scene. Practice was held several mornings before school.

“The Robotics Club has worked harder than I have ever seen out of my two years in the club,” President Jeremy Sapia said. “Rather than focusing on just developing our engineering and programming skills, we are now trying to promote recycling throughout our school community. We’ve taken our eyes off of the computer screens and focused them on helping our earth.”

The Robotics Club at St. Theresa Middle was started in 2010 to teach students science, technology, engineering and math.