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St. Paul Regional gets $10,000 grant for robotics

Robots are coming to St. Paul Regional High School.

Thanks to a Best Buy School Tech Grant for $10,000, the school has purchased two different kits aimed at helping students get involved in coding and robotics.

“A lot of the kids here have always wanted to try robotics,” said science teacher Alex Bernier.

“But they have never had the chance. So we are taking full advantage of their interest and their engagement here. We want to make the most of this really special opportunity.”

Bernier applied for the Best Buy grant after students in the Science Club initially expressed interest in the field of robotics.

“Some students initially approached me with the idea. I said ‘Great, but we don’t have any money for it. Go find money for it and we’ll make it happen.’ So, they did, and they came back with this Best Buy grant for $10,000.”

Nearly 300 schools applied for the grant, which helps schools use technology to inspire, motivate, and empower students in the classroom. Regional was one of only 12 schools in Canada to receive the grant.

The school has already placed orders for Lego Mindstorms EV3 and VEX Robotics.

“The Lego stuff is actually way cooler than you’d think, if you think it’s just playing with Lego,” Bernier says.

“First, you have to design the structure for its intended purpose. Then, you have to do the code to actually get it to function. It functions kind of like an introduction to robotics. You can build a robot that solves sudoku puzzles by scanning it and writing the numbers down. Or you can build a robot that solves a Rubik’s Cube.

“Once students are hooked on the Lego robots, hopefully, they will show an interest in the more advanced VEX robotic system. VEX robots are huge, complex robots and featured in competitions throughout Alberta and Canada.”

With these kits on the way, there is also a possibility of Regional offering a full-fledged robotics course in the future.

“It definitely isn’t something that would happen right away.” says Bernier, “but we are interested in it and exploring some options. In a few years, it’s a real possibility.”

You can learn more about the two systems by checking out the Lego Mindstorms and VEX Robotics websites.

JD Schmidt

JD is a reporter who works with Lakeland Connect to bring you the most reliable and honest news that he possibly can. He understands the effective combination of accurate reporting and fine journalistic writing.