Written by Grayson Lee Maxwell
Rutherford County Schools
Stewarts Creek Middle School has no shortage of after school clubs.
The cafeteria turns into a shooting range when the bell rings. The Art and Photography Club, Book Club, and Choir make a home among Stewarts Creek’s student performances.
But middle and high school students at Stewarts Creek gain real-world skills in engineering, mechanical design, programming, graphic design, and construction. It’s all thanks to the Stewarts Creek Robotics team.
Kevin Welch, the team coach, is passionate about STEM fields.
“First of all, it’s just fun,” Welch said. “I enjoy mechanical engineering challenges. I love robots because they express coding. I love seeing machines come to life, and I love working with students. The reason I use robots with students is because at the end of the day I don’t think there is anything else that can change the direction of their lives Just like realizing what they can do in STEM.”
Robotics may be the heart of the program, but Stewarts Creek students also participate in community outreach through STEM events. They gain an interest in robotics by helping other young people in Murfreesboro and surrounding communities interact with technology.
“They set up a discovery center and let the kids come in and run the robots and get to know our team,” Welch said, as an example. “But they also educate the community about STEM and the opportunities it offers. They use this platform [the team] To reach out to other students and expose them to robots. We also offer a community service like cleaning tables, and we share Smyrna and some elementary schools.”
The community takes care of the team and the team takes care of the community. Although Stewarts Creek Robotics is a competitor – they are also recruiting other Rutherford schools to compete and challenge themselves in robotics competitions, including competitors Rocks Springs, Rocky Fork, Christiana and Blackman Middle Schools.
The team provides an opportunity for students at Stewarts Creek Middle and High to do more than just build robots. There are many positions that require different skills to make a team successful. Students are needed in the areas of computer-aided design, coding, manufacturing, community communication, graphic design, marketing, team exhibitions, and presentation.
Ethan Morrow has been a member of the robotics team for two years. He explained that mentorship was one of the most rewarding things about being part of the award winning team.
“There is always someone with a lot of experience who is there to train and guide you. They are the ones who can help you. Then you are in turn responsible for helping others. You want to make sure everyone gets a taste of robotics. This is where the world moves,” Moreau said.
Victoria Welch, who has been on the team for six years, is a veteran and leader. She currently works on the team’s engineering notebook and leads graphic design.
“Patience, teamwork and leadership are the most important lessons I have learned,” Victoria said. “Patience because I am a leader. When you lead a team, inexperienced people, you have to be patient in teaching them. Leadership – you learn how to be constructive but kind. Teamwork – we are one big team. We have smaller sub-teams but it is important that we all work together at the end.” today “.
There is no shortage of benefits for team members.
Students recently competed in Music City BEST Robotics, a competition for students to design and build a robot in just eight weeks. But the work continues.
Currently, the team has 10 first place awards from last season, two from Best in the South and eight from the Music City BEST competition.
After winning an overall BEST award at the Nashville competition last weekend, Stewarts Creek’s robotics team will advance to the Best of the South competition held at Auburn University in December.
“One of our biggest values is our commitment to business ethics,” Welch said. “We believe talent gets you so far, ability gets you so far…but every one of our students here is sharp. The thing that makes Stewarts Creek students a force to be reckoned with is their work ethic. When you win honors and awards, you must remember to keep that Moving forward. Train hard and work hard. Past success is not indicative of future success.”
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