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Cedar Catholic’s Junior Cedar Bots conclude first season

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HARTINGTON – The first year of Cedar Catholic High School’s new junior high robotics program has powered down.

Cedar Catholic science instructor Lowell Brown, the lead mentor for the Hartington school’s robotics program, reflected on the Junior Cedar Bots’ 2022-23 season.

“Overall, our season has been rewarding in terms of our improvement in programming and design,” Brown said. “It has also allowed the kids a greater understanding of the need for teamwork and cooperation.”

He noted the biggest takeaway for the year for the junior high robotics teams has been the necessity to persevere and not give up trying.

“The program has allowed an educational outlet for the kids and to open to them a broad range of possibilities for their future from the association with other teams and seeing that a myriad of solutions are possible,” Brown said. “It has opened their eyes to a bigger picture.”

Cedar Catholic’s junior high robotics program is an after-school activity that typically meets two afternoons per week.

The Junior Cedar Bots took part in their one scheduled meet during the 2022-23 season on Jan. 14.

They had three teams among the 26 competing in Columbus: -Seventh-graders Brayden Fischer and Kyson Lammers, 20th place.

-Seventh-graders Levi Fiscus and Sawyer Nieman, 21st place.

-Seventh-grader Jayden Lordemann and sixth-grader Braeden Gubbels, 26th place.

“The year was both difficult and rewarding,” Fischer said. “I have really learned a lot and am excited for next year already.”

Added Fiscus, “My hope was to have fun while learning a lot and it has been great.”

Brown noted the FIRST Lego League junior high challenge was an entirely different design than the high school competition this season.

“The FIRST Lego League only allows for your team to attend one competition,” Brown said. “The junior high challenge is all based on renewable energy possibilities.

“It is titled ‘Superpowered’ and part of the game’s purpose is to get the younger kids to look at electrical energy production not based on fossil fuel use,” he said.

He noted he and his junior high robotics students are building a new table that will help them prepare for competitions next year.

“The reason for another table is to allow our practice time to mimic as closely as possible the actual competition format as four teams are competing against one another on two attached tables to complete coordinated tasks,” Brown said.

He explained Cedar Catholic’s robotics program will benefit from having students who start as members of the Junior Cedar Bots and then join the Cedar Bots as they get older.

“I’ve basically got about seven of those kids that are going to slide right into this,” Brown said of the junior high students who likely will join the high school program in the future.

“They’re already excited,” he said. “They’re good kids. They want to stay late and work on stuff. They’re really excited about it.”

He noted as a group, the Junior Cedar Bots are already trying to decide on how they will approach next season.

“Different kids have different strengths to capitalize on,” Brown said. “We will ensure we use our talents and abilities wisely. The whole group is excited to enter the high school program as they acquire more knowledge about robotics.

“I am looking forward to the four- to five-year association I will have with this group, Lord willing, as their skills continue to improve and we become a more mature program,” he said.