Charles Spencer, representing Tennessee Valley Authority, Erik Brinke, representing Blue Ridge Mountain EMC, and David Lewis, representing Tri-State EMC presented a check for $5,000 to Robert Ensley from the Fannin County School System. The $5,000 donation was made by the employees of Tennessee Valley Authority. The purpose of the donation is to fund robotics education in the Fannin County School System. Each of the 5 schools will receive $1000 of the funding, and it will be used to purchase robotics equipment and pay for competitions. In addition to the $5,000 grant, TVA will also be providing the funds to register robotics teams and purchase competition equipment.
The elementary schools will be forming Lego EV3 teams and competing in First Lego League competitions. This robotics initiative will supplement the current STEM programs at each of the three elementary schools. Attending local competitions with other schools will give the students the ability to demonstrate their skills against teams from the surrounding counties.
At the middle school level, the funding will be used for increasing the Lego EV3 kits and continuing to compete in First Lego League through the Technology Student Association (TSA.) The middle school will also be able to attend local area competitions. The middle school is also now involved with VEX Robotics, and they have competed against high school students at the State TSA conference in Athens, GA. The middle school will continue to compete in both First Lego League and VEX Robotics.
The high school is active in the VEX Robotics competitions, and this will allow them to increase the number of teams that participate in the competitions this year. The high school TSA chapter has been active in VEX Robotics for several years, and one of the teams competed in the State Championship match at Jekyll Island last year. The high school is represented at the signing by Hunter Alexander, the President of the High School TSA Chapter.
According to Bubba Gibbs, Engineering Teacher at Fannin County High School, “The robotics program at the high school has grown tremendously over the last few years. Through SPLOST funds, we have been able to purchase multiple robotics kits, and our teams are getting stronger and stronger each year. The TVA funding will allow us to supplement our current robotics inventory and improve our ability to compete.”
“I am excited to see more robotics added into our school system. The Lego EV3 Robots can be used to teach elementary school students the basics of robotics and computer programming. This is the same robot that is used to teach entry level computer science courses at The Georgia Institute of Technology, so the students are building the foundations for the STEM careers of the future through this program.”