KayLynn Roberts-McMurray
White Pine County School District Board Members, Robotic Team students, teachers, and representatives from the White Pine Pumped Storage Project are pictured with a check for $10,000.

Several robotics teams from White Pine County School District received a $10,000 donation last Tuesday during the White Pine County School District Board meeting.

Greg Copeland, program manager for Hydro at rPlus Energies, explained the companies Community Relations Specialist Michael Couch had attended a previous school board meeting and explained that the Robotics Teams needed financial assistance in order to attend the VEX Robotics World Championships in Dallas, Texas next month.

“White Pine School District has more teams qualifying for the championship than any other district in the State of Nevada, and we are proud to sponsor such a rockstar program in the same county we are going to open our 1,000 megawatt White Pine Pump Storage project,” Copeland said.

A donation of $5,000 was made by rPlus Energies and its parent company called Gardner matched their donation, bringing it to a total of $10,000.

VEX Robotics World Championship, presented by Northrop Grumman Foundation is set for May 8-12, in Dallas. This event brings together the top VEX IQ Challenge, VEX Robotics Competition, and VEX U teams from around the globe to celebrate their accomplishments and participate to be crowned champions.

The 2020 VEX World Championship was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 World Championship was completed in an entirely remote format, making the return of this year’s event a high energy and competitive event.

Each year, students are presented with a new competitive game for which they must design, build and code a robot. The robots are built from kits, but students have immense freedom in the design as there are no predetermined instructions and many parts can be modified. The entire process focuses on the engineering design process and documenting it, with many awards centered around the teams’ engineering notebooks.

Students will showcase their game strategies, design and teamwork skills. Inspections, qualification and skills matches and then matches to see who takes the coveted VEX awards has had the students here locally preparing vigorously for this year’s competition all while fundraising to attend.

The teams are close to their fundraising goal, with about $3,000 left to raise.

As Copeland wished the students good luck, he also thanked them for their interest in robotics.

“Hitech and stem based kinds of education are what will bring future careers in the type of project we are bringing to White Pine,” he said.