Wildbots host open house, thank supporters

Anne BrockAnderson, Our Town Youth

Robotics demonstrations and a showcase of advanced manufacturing filled the evening Open House by the Team 4265 Secret City Wildbots in Oak Ridge Thursday night. The school’s award-winning team welcomed back alumni, instructors and sponsors as it opened its doors to interested members of the community.

“We really try to emphasize the power of the team,” explained Oak Ridge High School program instructor Mark Buckner Ph.D. The distinguished Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher- turned-educator proudly introduced five graduating seniors who had participated in the Wildbots program, nearly all of whom are pursuing college paths in engineering or mechatronics. He and volunteer mentors noted that students can also hone valuable skills in business, marketing and other career areas as part of the Wildbots team. It’s one of the growing number of FIRST Robotics varsity-level teams that compete nationwide.

The Open House offered small groups the chance to visit various manufacturing demonstration areas on the ORHS campus and learn how iSchool, Wildcat Manufacturing and the extracurricular Wildbots robotics competitive team all give students an edge in the world of science and technology. The Wildbots made a special point to thank all of their supporting mentors and sponsors who volunteer and donate to keep team activities going.

One of those graduating seniors pursuing an engineering degree in college encouraged students thinking of joining the team next season. “Don’t be afraid to try new things,” said Imelia Markus-Brock to the Open House audience. “I was intimidated at first. But I decided to be brave and stick with it.”

Anne Brock is marketing coordinator for Solar Alliance, which designs and manages solar installation projects for large manufacturers and small businesses. She can be reached at abrock@solaralliance.com or 865-221-8349. Solar Alliance supported three East Tennessee FIRST ® robotics high school teams during the recent school year. These are the Secret City Wildbots of Oak Ridge, the Austin-East RoboRunners and the Hardin Valley Academy RoHAWKtics.


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