Clovis North's robotics team uses new website to raise thousands

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As students head back to school, they're looking at new ways to support their clubs and organizations.

Nearly gone are the days of fundraising through bake sales and car washes. Just ask Clovis North High School's robotics class where students are using a new website to generate ten times more money than they're used to.

A high-tech machine helped Clovis North's robotics team win first place at a competition in Ventura this past spring, but it didn't come cheap.

Robotics Advisor Jonathan Bowns said, "Entry fees are $5,000 per competition. Building a robot will cost another $5,000 and I can build two to be able to make things function the way they need to, travel expenses, things like that."

Bowns said Robotics students will try and raise money through bake sales, car washes and selling candy bars. Those methods can bring in a few hundred dollars at most. Last year, they tried something new -- a website called "EdCo" which helps schools and clubs create a platform to help them raise money. Using the site exceeded expectations and raised roughly $5,500. The team was amazed.

Amrit Kooner, a senior on the robotics team, said, "It was especially nice to give them a link on Facebook so if they wanted to they could just click it. I didn't have to ask them about it and it was a much smoother process."

Fundraising online also meant reaching a wider audience, including family members and friends who live in other parts of the country. EdCo also pushes the cause through social media.

Bowns said the competitions are important not just to help the students learn but in preparation for college. The competitions give the kids real-life engineering experience.

"Our three-year college attendance out of this program is 100%," said Bowns. "Kids from our program go on to engineering schools at Cal-Poly in San Luis Obispo, Cal-Berkley."

Nick Perkins, a senior and robotics team member, said, "I'm definitely hoping this becomes a career. I'm hoping to major in engineering in college and this really has pushed me forward because I now know how to do computer-aided design and programming."

Clovis North's robotics team hopes to take the fundraising site even further this year. They'll be using EdCo to raise even more money for several competitions next spring.

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