Local schools have world class robotics teams.

March 4, 2020

Scott Ward

Local schools have world class robotics teams.

Letter to the Editor by Scott Ward, president of West Shore Community College. 

Letters to the editor are the opinion of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Media Group 31, LLC, owner of Mason County Press. 

I recently witnessed our future in action at a FIRST Robotics regional competition in Traverse City. Five high schools in the West Shore Community College district participated and represented the area well in the 40 team competition. Ludington won the regional competition while Bear Lake, Brethren and Mason County Central all made the playoffs. Local teams shined earning special honors: Bear Lake, Creativity Award; Brethren, Gracious Professionalism Award and Safety Award; Gateway to Success Academy, Team Spirit Award; Ludington, Industrial Design Award. 

The strength of competition was world-class. During one match, a distinctive task was achieved which was accomplished in only ten matches out of the thousands held throughout the world. To see local teams excel against high-level competition speaks volumes of their abilities and the support they receive from coaches, mentors, volunteers, school districts, and sponsors. 

As more local manufacturers are implementing or increasing the use of robotics, it is encouraging and exciting to see so many students developing skills to fill the growing workforce demand. Perhaps even more important than the technical skills, students throughout the competition showcased essential “soft skills.” Professionalism, communication, collaboration, team-work, critical thinking, and creativity, which are ideal qualities in any employee, were on full display from all of the teams. 

I am pleased West Shore Community College is working diligently to enhance our robotics programs to improve pathways for students and better meet the workforce demand. Our collaborative work with universities, school districts, and local manufacturers will soon result in new offerings and programs. 

I walked away from the event with a refreshingly positive outlook on the future. This generation of students seems well on their way to be the leaders to take on the numerous national and global challenges which will be placed in their hands.  

Congratulations to each of the teams, the school districts, and their community of supporters.  

Scott Ward, President

West Shore Community College