The Dover-Sherborn High School Robotics Club was founded last year school year by Jake Heinlein, Charlie Friesen and Paul Krusell. This group had been active in robotics for many years stemming from their involvement with FIRST Lego League (FLL). FLL is an alliance between the FIRST organization, (whose mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders) and LEGO and is sponsored by many corporate leaders in the areas of science and technology. Conor Walsh, Harry Thomas, Dennis Donoghue, Wesley Gallant, and Richard Freimer rounded out last year’s club.
FIRST continues the robotics challenge for high school aged participants with the FIRST Tech Challenge in which the DS Robotics Club participates. The club members design, build and program a robot to accomplish tasks in a challenge that is released every September by FIRST. In competitions, two alliances of two teams each compete head-to-head using an exciting sports model. The season begins with the kick-off in September and competitions take place throughout the winter. The Massachusetts State Championship is held in March. The club meets after school as well as on the weekends and is open to all students and no prior robotics experience is necessary. Thirty students at the high school have joined the team this fall. Members of the DS Robotics Club find they enjoy the teamwork and the ability to find innovative solutions as well as the strategy and the competitions.
In their first year, the DSHS Robotics Club advanced to the Massachusetts state championship and were eliminated in the semi-final round of competition.
The club is advised by DSHS English teacher Lindsay Li, who enthusiastically stepped up to support the team, but was unable to provide some of the more detailed technical advice. Mrs. Li used her connections to put them in touch with Andris (Andy) Vizulis, the husband of Rebecca (Becky) Vizulis, who is a DSHS history teacher. Mr. Vizulis is an engineer and has made an incredible commitment to the team by offering technical advice (when needed), going to meets, meeting on Saturdays and Sundays with the students and coming to their meetings after school.
More than ever, there is a need for US schools to look to and excel in STEM based education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) so that we may better equip tomorrow’s leaders with the skills necessary to compete in the global environment.
The DS Robotics Club is one extraordinary example of how student based innovation and interest translated to excellence in education. Funding of these opportunities is only possible through the generosity of donors who attend the DSEF Annual Fall Gala Fundraiser or donate during the February Phonathon.
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Wicked Local Article: www.wickedlocal.com/dover/news/x1440913157/Dover-Sherborn-Robotics-Club-creates-a-buzz-at-state-tourney