By Carolyn Marnon – Team 313: The Bionic Zebras of Wayne Memorial High School have set what might seem like a lofty goal of raising $15,000 this year. This would cover competition entrance fees, the costs associated with designing, building and programming an industrial-sized robot to use in competition, along with other costs such as travel, food and team shirts.
Kaden Brown is a sophomore this year. He is the team’s Business Captain. He has always been interested in gadgets. He enjoyed taking broken toys apart and seeing how they worked. He joined the Bionic Zebras his freshman year for the opportunity to build things, make new friends and for the help with schoolwork he could get through the robotics team. He says the team has had a 100% graduation rate over the last 20 years.
Two years ago, Wayne Rotary invited the Bionic Zebras to set up a tent at the Wednesday night concerts in Goudy Park. The team arrives each week to show off their current robot and talk robotics with interested concert-goers. “Spacer” has been rolling around this summer at the park with Team President Dallas McIntosh, Safety Captain Sara Bellavance, Kaden and Team Mentors J.J. Johnson and Eric Cleereman. “Spacer” is the team’s 2019 competition robot for Destination Deep Space. It got its name because team members kept losing spacers inside the robot. “A joke name,” says Kaden. “Spacer” has an elevator system that can go 8-feet up, a drive train that can make 360 degree turns, an electronic panel, can move 15 feet in a second, and has the names of team members who helped build it written in various places.
During the six-week building period each team is allowed, Kaden says the team works on the robot from 2:00-8:00 p.m. every day after school.
The team is looking for sponsors. Kaden says they really want to have community sponsors. They would be especially grateful if a local business sponsor was in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field. They have had bottle drives to raise funds. They are currently selling Zebra Stock. For $10, you can own a Zebra Stock Certificate which signifies you as an investor in the Wayne Memorial Bionic Zebras FIRST Robotics Team. You would be entitled to investor-only emails on team progress and important event information as well as invitations to team open house and team build days.
The 2020 competition theme is Infinite Recharge. The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics website indicates Rise: The Force is Building, powered by Star Wars: Force for Change. There are sound files for Star Wars ambient sounds, R2-D2 beeps and BB-8 noises. Star Wars fans should be interested in seeing what transpires when these high school students get the specifics for the competition season and “rise” to the occasion.
If you would like to purchase “stock” in the Bionic Zebras, become a sponsor or donate to the team, please email Kaden at firstname.lastname@example.org. May the force of Wayne be with them.