Robotics competition held at Canon-McMillan High School

July 25, 2014
Students prepare their robots for the water Friday at Canon-McMillan High School. - Photo provided by Western Area Career and Technology Center

Robotics and aquatics met at the Canon-McMillan High School pool Friday.

Twelve high school students, nine from Western Area Career and Technology Center, participated in an aquatic robotics competition in the morning. It was the culmination of a weeklong summer camp, during which each student made a robot that, on the final day, he or she would be able to maneuver in the water – during a race and through an obstacle course of Hula-Hoops.

Two other campers were unable to attend Friday’s event. Tim Angert was the instructor.

“It’s just a friendly thing,” said Dennis McCarthy, WACTC’s director. “It’s more of ‘This what I built and this is what I did.’ It’s kind of a STEM thing.”

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math.

WACTC this summer has hosted several camps related to its course offerings. Southwest Training Services Inc. sponsors the camps, and Lisa Neil and Cindy Derrico, its president and vice president, were in attendance Friday.

Ester Barnes, Western Area’s in-school youth coordinator, recruited students from the nine Washington County school districts it serves, plus teens from three other Western Pennsylvania districts.

The Western Area students who competed Friday (and their districts): Jenna Ronto, Zach Fine, Justin Sargent and Donald Levers (Washington); C.J. Rhen, Brandon Thomas, Justin Zeisloft and Vineeth Sharma (Peters Township School District) and Tanner Neish McMurdy (Canon-McMillan).

Beninis Thomas (Upper St. Clair), Alex Toth (South Park) and Artisha Walker (Lincoln Park) also were on hand.

McCarthy said WACTC hosted robotics camps before, but this was a first foray into the water. So, the current students made a splash.

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won seven individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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