New, exciting Robotics Competition comes to Sumner County Middle Schoolers

December 17, 2020

Robotics Competition comes to Sumner

Through a shared passion for technology and the development of young minds in Sumner County, a partnership between Cowley College in Wellington, KanOkla Networks in Caldwell, and Sumner-Cowley Electric Cooperative in Wellington will bring a county-wide robotics program to middle school students. Sixty-four students from five middle schools have signed on to participate in the program--Wellington, Wellington Christian, Belle Plaine, Caldwell, and South Haven middle schools.

Students and faculty received their robotics kits and program guidelines on Wednesday, December 16th at the Cowley College Technology and Innovation Center in Wellington. Each robotics kit includes three robots per four to six students involved. The robots are specialized to develop student abilities in different areas of technology and problem-solving.

Representatives from Cowley College, KanOkla Networks, and Sumner-Cowley Electric were present to speak to students and faculty followed with a tour the facilities. Each team of four to six students will learn and practice assembly, programming, task completion, and troubleshooting. The 12 teams will then compete at the annual Cowley College Agriculture & CTE Open House in April, with the winner advancing to a next level competition.

The ultimate goal is to teach the programming language to students, leading to career paths in tech, IT, AI, programming, assembly, and repairing robotics. It is predicted nearly all career paths, from healthcare to agriculture, will be enhanced by the use of AI and robotics. Learning this language at an early age will open up multiple career options for our students.

The hope for the county-wide program is that through competition and networking, this will create future collaboration between students and spark ideas for startups or the expansion of current businesses in Sumner County, attracting more employment opportunities, a skilled workforce and higher wages.

This past summer, Cowley College and KanOkla Networks cosponsored the first IT Camp in Caldwell, Kansas. The week-long program was a success and will be continued every summer, promoting the fun and diverse tech programs available through Cowley College and the job paths available at KanOkla. Cowley CTE classes are currently offered at the high school, but many students do not know what they mean. This focused effort to spark an interest in middle school minds will change that while opening doors to new career path options.