Ready to join the robotics age

Ozaukee Middle School high-tech club set to take off, thanks to generosity of civic groups

STUDENTS INTERESTED IN joining a robotics club at Ozaukee Middle School received a boost when local civic organizations combined to donate $2,500 for the purchase of club equipment. Joining the students for a group photo were (back row, from left) Leo Club adviser John Kirmse and Russell Page Witte-Dycus of Ozaukee Mason Lodge 17 and (third row, far right) Fredonia Lions President Ralph Luedtke and science teacher James Peter. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

Ozaukee Middle School in Fredonia will be starting a robotics club, thanks to $2,500 in donations from several charitable organizations. 

“It’s definitely something the kids wanted to do, so we went out to try to make it happen,” said James Peter, who teaches science, technology, engineering, art and math at the school. 

“The kids are ready to go, and we want to start as soon as possible.”

Peter said about 25 students, which includes a mix of boys and girls, have already signed up for the club and are eager to start in the next couple of weeks. 

Peter came up with the idea for the club in January because he wanted to have a program that introduces students to robotics in preparation for a similar club at Ozaukee High School that specializes in underwater robotics.

“We didn’t have anything at the middle school students could do that would also feed the high school team,” he said.

To pay for equipment, Peter approached Ozaukee Mason Lodge 17, Fredonia Lions, Landt-Thiel American Legion Post 470 and Ozaukee Middle School’s Leo Club, which combined to provide $2,500 in donations.

“Without the generosity of the donors, this wouldn’t have happened,” Peter said. “They saw the need and responded to what we were asking for.” 

The money will go toward purchasing six VEX robotics kits with remote controls that cost about $300 each. Students will use each kit in groups of four. 

The club will also buy a challenge field, which is a 4-by-8 foot playing surface on which each robot will operate.

Peter said the club will begin building a robot this spring and will compete in contests around the state next fall. 

He said the competitions involve various tasks, such as guiding the robot to place rings on a series of posts at various heights. 

“Each year, students will be building a robot to fulfill different tasks and operations,” Peter said.

“We’ll take apart last year’s robot to rebuild something new in order to complete the task.”

Peter said the club will receive its equipment in a few weeks. In the meantime, he is organizing parents to help implement the technology and volunteer at tournaments.

“Parents will be a big part of this program,” he said. “Especially for tournaments on Saturday.”  

Peter also welcomes more donations for future robotics projects.

“Things are going to break, and we’re going to have more kids involved, so we’re going to need more kits,” he said.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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