Robotics program gains PSE support

(posted 2.10.10)

The Concrete School District is preparing more students for state and national competition in robotics thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Puget Sound Energy Foundation.

Concrete Superintendent Barbara Hawkings said the foundation’s grant is helping Concrete High School technology teacher Michael Criner continue his new robotics program. Students in the program cooperatively build and market a robot, and ultimately, they will showcase their skills and knowledge at one or more FIRST Robotics competitions held across the country.

“Mr. Criner’s program is not really about building robots,” Hawkings said.  “It’s about building confidence and excitement in our students and, perhaps, building the next generation of ground-breaking scientists. It’s about inspiring young people in the wonders of science, math, engineering and technology. We are extremely grateful to the Puget Sound Energy Foundation for recognizing the value of our efforts.”

The Robotics program started last year in the high school with only a few students.  This year, Mike Criner is offering a class for seventh and eighth graders. The high school team attended the FIRST Robotics competition in Seattle last year. From March 4–6, they will compete in Portland, Oregon. The First Robotics competitions involve thousands of students from around the world.

Ray Trzynka, Puget Sound Energy’s community relations manager for Skagit County, presented the $5,000 grant to Superintendent Hawkings and the Concrete School Board during its regular meeting Jan. 27 on behalf of the Puget Sound Energy Foundation.

“Our foundation’s charitable grants are all about trying to make a positive difference in the community,” Trzynka said. “It’s obvious that your robotics program is inspiring kids in the Concrete School District.”

Puget Energy, the parent company of PSE, created the foundation in 2006 to continue PSE’s legacy of leadership and support of worthy, community-based programs.

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