Just a few years ago, they had one student. Now there are about 20.
The first time the team went to a competition, they didn’t have a working robot.
Last year, they were the third highest-ranked team in the state, and the second-highest ranked team in North Alabama in the regional competition.
As they’ve grown, so has the facilities. New this year, they don’t have to pack everything up in a closet each night. They have their own lab.
Thanks to many sponsors, they have their own tools, and, for the first time, they’re getting to travel out of state for a competition.
Thanks to several mentors who volunteer countless hours, they have a little more know-how.
“A lot of kids think I can’t do robotics. I can’t build a robot,” Joan Keever, who mentors the robotics team, said. “They can.”
Keever added, even if robots aren’t your thing, there are dozens of other ways students can help and get involved.
In one corner of the converted physics lab at Mae Jemison, you have Prabenjan Mayalagu, who is in his first year with the club, working on some code, while across the room, other students are working on cutting out paper circles.
Richard Bradshaw, another student, is working to make some hardware pieces fit on a robot, and mentors Jim French, Jim Dailey, and Joshua Yarbrough are at the marker board working on diagrams.
Another mentor, Cydale Smith, is figuring in a notebook, while there’s a robot running up and down the hallway outside.