Upsala students taking Robotics challenge

The 32 students in the Upsala welding III and robotics classes will be working together to compete in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Challenge, an “intellectual sport of the mind.”

FIRST Robotics Challenge involves high school teams building a working and mobile robot. They compete to accomplish a set challenge each year, something that changes from one year to the next.

“This is a Minnesota State High School League-sanctioned sport,” said robotics instructor Curtis Robertson.

“The students from these two classes are learning to work together with people they don’t often spend time with, so it’s a learning experience for everyone,” said welding teacher Gretchen Schleper.

In a report submitted to the Board by Team 4480-Upsala Robotics, the diverse set of skills necessary for the competition include communication, cooperation, gracious professionalism, planning, manufacturing and more.

Team members are requesting support with technical assistance, equipment, monetary resources and volunteer time to help them be a success.

The National Aeronautics and Space Association (NASA) has approved a $6,500 grant for the team to attend this year. The first-year fee includes a basic parts kit as well as the entrance fee. Future teams will already have the parts kit.

“We will still have to do some fundraising,” Robertson said.

The team’s goal is $10,000 raised for transportation, room and board during the competition March 7-9, 2013 at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC). Anywhere from 45 – 60 teams will be competing.

“The Challenge kickoff will be at the University of Minnesota, Jan. 5,” Schleper said.

For more information, contact coaches Curtis Robertson at (320) 573-2176, x. 160 or Gretchen Schleper at (320) 573-2176, x. 142.


Other business that came before the Upsala School Board Wednesday included:

• Approving the report by Dean of Students Vern Capelle;

• Watching Curtis Robertson’s presentation of the semester’s activities in the photography and engineering classes;

• Designating Jan. 23 as the new year’s reorganization meeting;

• Approving an additional four hours per week for Administrative Assistant Jayne Glaser, whose workload had increased due to testing requirements and more college classes on the Interactive Television (ITV) system;

• Approving a $1,000 donation from the Lions and the Elementary Boys Basketball Activity Fund for new glass backboards in the old gym;

• Approving a $6,500 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Association (NASA) for the robotics team challenge;

• Approving the 2012 payable 2013 levy at $864,257.25;

• Approving the Memorandum of Understanding with the Upsala Education Association and the District;

• Approving the hiring of Tara Prout as a .5 music teacher;

• Approving the hiring of0 Brent Herzog as Junior High boys basketball coach;

• Approving donations from the Lions Club of $100 for the Geography Bee prizes and $1,500 for weight room repairs;

• Thanking departing Board Member Neil Frieler for his years of service; and

• Approving the closing of the meeting to discuss certified staff negotiations.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Upsala School Board will be Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school media center.