Kingman students ready to show off their robot

From left, Team 60 Robotics Club members Rebecca Legget, Jesse Marquez, John Lewis, Alex Schnieder, Jesse Masters, Eric Venenga and Luke Pierson display this year’s robot their group created for the FIRST Robotics Competition regionals that will take place in Chandler and Las Vegas.  (Courtesy)

From left, Team 60 Robotics Club members Rebecca Legget, Jesse Marquez, John Lewis, Alex Schnieder, Jesse Masters, Eric Venenga and Luke Pierson display this year’s robot their group created for the FIRST Robotics Competition regionals that will take place in Chandler and Las Vegas. (Courtesy)

KINGMAN - After six weeks of intense work, the Team 60 Robotics Club will publicly debut a completed copy of its six-and-a-half-foot-tall entry for two upcoming regional robotics competitions.

The creation is one of two identical robots the club recently designed, welded, machined, powder-coated for strength and programmed for the FIRST Robotics Competition that begins in Chandler and moves to Las Vegas. The other robot already has been packed and shipped, and the club will practice with the robot remaining in Kingman.

"We want the public to know about our program and see what we've been doing," said Jody Shanaman, the sponsor at Lee Williams High School who has been working with the club since 2001. "Also, we really want to thank the community for all it's done to support us."

Members of Team 60 Robotics Club, which has been active since 1966, come from LWHS, Kingman High School, Kingman Academy High School and local home-schooling programs. With the help of mentors, about 25 students learn about public speaking, finances, problem-solving and perseverance as they craft, display and operate their robots.

Last year, Team 60 Robotics Club won second place in Chandler and came in fifth place in Las Vegas. In 2013, it garnered second place in Chandler and third place in Las Vegas.

This year's robot is vertical and functions as an elevator for "Recycle Rush," a recycling-themed game played by two alliances of three robots each. Robots score points by stacking totes on scoring platforms, capping those stacks with recycling containers, and disposing of foam pool noodles that represent litter.

The club also wants to get the word out at the open house that it will be moving to a new, permanent home, thanks to a helping hand in the form of a $25,000 grant from the Western Arizona Education/Joint Technical Education District.

Currently, the club operates out of the engineering building at LWHS, but space is at a premium with the influx of another grade in the fall.

The grant money will pay half the cost of a new building at KHS that will house the robotics club, as well as programs that include large project fabrication and design. The 40-by-60-feet steel building will be open for the start of school in July.

Those include Computer Aided Manufacturing, Computer Numerical Control Systems, Computer Aided Designs and Real World Design Challenge. The programs are part of the STEM education initiatives that will be offered in the 2015-2016 school year at KHS.

STEM courses are the state's core educational disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The robotics club recently was chosen by The Chrysler Foundation to receive a $5,000 grant, the maximum from an organization that has awarded more than $2.3 million in grants since 1995 to FIRST programs. Team 60 was the only Arizona club to receive the grant, while one club in Illinois, two in Indiana and 37 in Michigan were chosen to get from $750 to $5,000 each.

Celeste Lucier, the club sponsor at Kingman Academy High School, said she is looking forward to the community talking to the students and viewing the new robot.

"This is an outlet for our students to apply what they're learning at school," said Lucier. "It's important for people to see what we're doing in our club and where the money's going when they support us financially. These kids have poured a lot of themselves into the thought process and design of these robots, and they're very excited."