Events

July 16, 2014

Robots camp at Joe Walker Middle School

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Linda KC Reynolds
staff writer

Nate Mohun, Jeffrey Hager, Cesar Ramirez and Natalie Othoa disassemble a robot during robotics summer camp at Joe Walker Middle School. Many students say the program brought them out of their shell and gave them confidence.

Joe Walker Middle School held its week long robotics summer camp June 23-28 where students from the Antelope Valley, Ridgecrest and Paso Robles used the VEX robotic kits to build their creations. The VEX kit is intended to introduce students and adults to the world of robotics.

Corporate sponsors included NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, The AERO Institute, and Joe Walker’s Stealth Academy. Several high school robotic teams mentored the workshop.

Cesar Ramirez, 17, of Lancaster High’s Eagle Robotics enjoys mentoring younger students. He said he was always interested in robots and machines but got hooked when he saw what could be built. Perhaps even more important than building robots, Ramirez has built confidence in himself. Once a loner who avoided people, he has won the Chairman’s Award for public speaking. I didn’t like to speak in public when I first joined, now I’m doing presentations and helping other kids to come out of their shell. It is a wonderful program. The days of eating lunch by himself are long gone.

Natalie Othoa had no interest in robotics and felt forced to come to a meeting by a friend.

She told me it was better than sitting around, so I came to keep her quiet and ended up really liking it, said the 16 year old student from Palmdale’s 5012 Gryffingear team. Her teammates said she used to be very quiet and shy; however, now she is one of their best speakers.

Lancaster high school student Jeffrey Hager, 18, also enjoys mentoring the younger students.
While building robots he read up on medical engineering and would like to pursue a career where he can build limbs for people who were born without them or lost them. He would also like to work with soldiers who were injured to give them the best quality of life possible. I have a friend that went blind and deaf working with aircraft engines, I would love to be able to help him. He claims he was also anti-social and very quiet, Now my friends tell me to be quiet because I talk so much.

Their motto is, ëOh, and we build robots too,’ because it is so much more than mechanics.
We need people to market us so we need photographers, videographers and all kinds of people. It’s not just for quiet nerds! says Ramirez. He encourages parents to start kids young with Lego, and if you don’t think you fit into anything at school, try robotics. We will always find something good and for you to do.




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