Buchanan robotics team using grant money to help elementary students start robotics club

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Buchanan High robotics team is getting students excited about STEM - science, technology, engineering and math.

These high school students have earned a reputation as award-winning robotics competitors, but their real interest is getting their fellow students interested in the sciences.

Now thanks to some new grant money, they're hoping to spark the same passion in the district's littlest learners.

Hailey Ferris knew she wanted to be a part of Buchanan High Schools robotics team known as the Bird Brains ever since she was a freshman.

"When you hear about robotics, it can be really intimidating because you think, how much do I know about robotics?" said Ferris. "But when you come on the team, it's just a family."

Now as a senior and chief executive officer of the team, she's hoping to make sure all students feel the same.

"We have outreach when we go to elementary schools and show the youth about robotics to get them interested at an early age," explained Ferris.

Thanks to an Equity and Access Grant from FIRST, the team is reaching out to elementary schools to help get younger students interested in robotics.

"There's a lot of innovation happening and I feel like young minds have the potential to do many great things, especially if they get interested in science and technology," said fellow team member Erica Kokor.

Much of their outreach has been put on pause due to COVID, so they're trying to get the word out. Now with the grant money, they hope to help other Clovis Elementary schools start their own robotics program.

"I think it's so important to bring the youth into our conversation because frankly, it's the future, added Ferris. "Just giving them the idea of what robotics is, about technology, science."

The team is also recruiting new students and preparing for a competition this next month, focusing on getting students in their own backyard interested in STEM.

If you're a Clovis Unified Elementary school interested in starting a robotics program, you can reach out to the Buchanan Bird Brains via email at contact@team1671.com.
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