POTTSTOWN PA – Three Pottstown High School freshman engineering students – Caden Nihart, Nye Powell, and Triniti Rhodes-Fisher (at top) – are scheduled to compete Wednesday (May 10, 2023) in a robotics contest at the Dana Inc. world headquarters in Maumee OH, the Pottstown School District said.
Their trip to the event is being sponsored by the Dana African American Resource Group at its Pottstown facility on South Keim Street.
The students’ participation in Dana’s “Junior BotBall” challenge represents their successful advance as a team, under the direction of high school engineering teacher Andrew Bachman, to the second round of the contest. In addition to Pottstown, it involves competitors at five other Dana sites in Indiana, Ohio (2), Michigan, and Tennessee, sponsored by similar resource groups.
The Botball challenge is organized by the Oklahoma-based KISS Institute for Practical Robotics. It’s a non-profit educational entity that encourages students to learn and write programming code, and adhere to engineering design standards. Pottstown’s students have worked periodically after school since February to participate in the challenge.
During weeks leading up to Dana’s first round on April 15, the three met regularly between classes and other school activities. Nihart “worked a few days from 2:50-5 p.m. by himself, and then from 5-6:30 p.m. when his teammates could join” him, the district wrote. Rhodes-Fisher went back to work after finishing an away-game for softball, it added.
The Pottstown resource group is providing the high school robot wizards with transportation to, meals at, and tours of Dana at Maumee for the second round. With skill and luck, the trio will earn a victory there too, the district indicated.
The first-place prize for the winning team is a week-long, college-credit residential summer workshop at Purdue University in Indiana that will focus on math and engineering projects. Nihart and Powell also were among last year’s winners of the Purdue experience for middle school teams in a similar battle, the district noted.
Photos provided by teacher Andrew Bachman at Pottstown High School