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The newest high school ‘Sport’ in W.Va. – Robotics team

Robotics team competitions are now recognized as a cross-curricular high school activity under the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission.

The  -pointment was made official on November 1st and NASA’s Education Resource Center leads the way. This gives students studying robotics the same recognition as college sports or other types of extracurricular clubs.

Program manager Todd Ensign says the program helps students develop STEM-related skills and team communication.

“It’s one of the most exciting ways to have fun learning that kids don’t even realize they are developing an enormous amount of skills that will help them both in science and in their future careers,” said Ensign. “It’s such a useful program that it seems unfair that many schools don’t have access to competitive robotics.”

NASA’s ERC program has supported STEM-related activities across West Virginia for years through a Fairmont State University scholarship. The program allows students to visit the ERC’s Fairmont facility for hands-on activities. The program also supports STEM competitions like the Lego League Challenge and the VEX Robotics Competition – events that attract students across the state.

This new name means more support for robotics programs across the country, including more participation and easier accessibility. Fairmont State Program Specialist Ryan Utzman says this also means West Virginia is at the forefront.

“We have been working towards this for the past seven years. I think the first state to recognize robotics as an official activity was Minnesota, ”Utzman said. “During this period, six more states recognize this as an activity, but we are still in the top 10.”

The first official robotics event is the State Championship on May 16, 2022. It will take place on the campus of Fairmont State University. Ensign says any high school in the state is invited to  -ply.

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