Dirk Duncan of DART Container presented a $5,000 grant from the DART Foundation to Global High School’s First Robotics Club Thursday afternoon. The foundation was started to assist high schools with their engineering, math and other related programs.

“We have a committee that is responsible for choosing where the monies will go,” Duncan said. “After speaking with one of our co-workers about Global High’s robotics club, we felt they would put this grant to good use.”

Robotics Sponsor Christ Ledbetter said the donation will definitely come in handy.

“This grant is going to allow us to continue the First Robotics program for a long time to come,” Ledbetter said. “This is a very good program for the kids, because it gives them a chance to see what engineering and robotics is all about.”

The students are also given an opportunity to see if this is something they would like to pursue as a career, he said. In addition, the funds will go towards parts to make their robot, which Ledbetter expects to be even better than last year’s.

“Our goal this year is to make it to the championship,” he expressed. “We’re planning on taking around 30-40 kids who are already putting forth a lot of effort to bring home the championship.”

One of those students who have been diligently working to make sure they bring home the first place trophy is Junior Robotics Team Captain Madeline Small. Small became active in the robotics club as a freshman. She said it has not only been challenging to be a part of club, but also a lot of fun.

“We had a huge competition and it was like being at a giant party,” Small said. “We would dance around in the stands and cheer on our robots.”

She said receiving the grant is going to help the team build a better robot and go toward registration for the upcoming competition.

“This grant that we received from DART is going to help us in so many ways,” she exclaimed. “This isn’t a cheap competition. Our registration alone is $5,000.”

Small said the registration fees aren’t their only concern, but they have to pay for parts for the robot, food and other additional fees.

“Last year it costs us $7,000 to put our robot together,” she said. “So we need all the donations we can get.”

Principal Donald Snook said he’s very appreciative to DART for providing them with this grant. He said it was very exciting to see what the students came up with last year, and he can’t wait to see the great things they’re going to pull out in the next competition.

Small added that the robotics competition consist of six weeks of vigorous building time.

“When January comes we’ll go to what they call the kick off,” she said. “While there we’ll learn about what we’re suppose to do and what the robots are suppose to do. From that time we have six weeks to build a robot from the ground up.”

Ledbetter said the club would continue to accept donations from anyone that wants to assist them in their efforts. He also said anyone who would like to serve as a mentor for the program is welcome to do so.

“We want anyone with electrical, engineering and machinery experience to consider serving as a mentor for our robotics program,” Ledbetter said. “These kids need others to come alongside them and assist them with their goals. And we would love to see members of the community taking a vested interest in what they’re doing.”

To serve as a mentor or make a donation to Global High’s robotics program, contact Chris Ledbetter at cledbetter@wisd.org or Molly Adams at madams@wisd.org. Also call Global High School at 972-923-4761.

Follow Melissa on Facebook.com/MelissaCadeWDL. Contact her at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@waxahachietx.com.