Robotics club funded by Ranken

When district budget cuts affected school clubs, it seemed that the robotics team had met its end. Last week, however, the team received word that Ranken Technical College had offered sponsorship.

“Ranken has graciously offered to support us,” club instructor Mr. Richard Kling said. “Ranken supports our club because they are a premier STEM school.”

Ranken has agreed to pay the team’s registration fees in the FIRST Tech Challenge, a robotics competition for middle and high school students. The registration fees include a basic kit of parts, although resources will still be more limited than they have been in past years.

“The district’s budget crisis has affected… all of the clubs,” Kling said. “Some of the smaller materials… will have to come out of our pockets.”

Still, Kling said the club is looking healthy due to the accumulation of spare parts from past years, and he’s optimistic for the future of the program.

“A strong robotics program is critical to Oakville because it offers the students a way to utilize all of their education in a practical and fun way,” he said. He pointed out that in addition to design and construction, the robotics program also teaches teamwork, public speaking, and presentation skills, among other things.

The club first made contact with Ranken last year, when then-senior Brian Pohl’s father worked as Ranken’s Vice President for Education. In addition to Ranken’s sponsorship, the club also receives support from the Buckel family and Hanke Constructors.

“The entire program is centered around the… system of education that students need today to succeed,” Kling said, “So I hope we can keep the program going.”