Dear Parents,

You are receiving this email because your daughter or son expressed interested in being on the STA robotics team next school year. Students in grades 5-8 may participate.  We use the VEX IQ robotics kits to build the robots that we will use to compete in during the upcoming school year. Students will be forming teams made up of 4-6 students. If they participated last year, they may keep their old team or join a new one. Each team will build their own robot and compete at the tournaments.  This is student driven program with the kids building, programming, and driving the robots. There is also a STEM research project and engineering logbook competition we will enter in at the tournaments.
I will be coaching the middle school teams again and am very happy to welcome Mrs. Kara Bungard, a fellow teacher at STA, as the elementary team coach. Our extremely dedicated robotics mentor, Ollie Trapp, will be returning as our resident robotics expert.  Ollie has been helping us for the last two years as a volunteer.  He is an engineer and Rose-Hulman graduate and has been involved in academic robotics for about 14 years now both as a mentor and a student.  We are very lucky to have Ollie on our team.
In August we will be conducting a free introductory workshop only for students new to our robotics program. In the workshop we will be building student knowledge of the robotics fundamentals needed for designing the robots and applying the science concepts that will help the robots function better.   Participation in the workshop is strongly recommended. More information will be coming later this summer once I have finalized our student roster.
Generally we will be meeting after school on Thursdays from 3:15-5:45 pm in the Science Lab starting August 24th and ending mid February.  I will send parents a final calendar with all of the meeting and tournament dates once they have been confirmed at the end of August. It is important that you and your child can commit to the team. Attending weekly practices and scheduled competitions is expected, but if there is an occasional conflict we will be able to work around it. I will ask parents to volunteer to provide snacks for the weekly meetings via Sign Up Genius.  I will also ask for volunteers to assist with monitoring students during meeting times.
We will participate in 4 regular season competitions and hopefully qualify to compete at the State Tournament at the end of February.  The competitions take place in the time frame of November through February. Competitions are on Saturdays and are all day events starting at 8:00 a.m. and ending by 4:00 p.m.  I will need a minimum of 2 parents for each team to help at each competition and will expect everyone to volunteer to help at some time.  Two weeks before each tournament you will be invited to volunteer through Sign Up Genius.  It is not hard and the competitions are a lot of fun.
Each year more students become interested in joining robotics, but we do have limited space and resources, and will need to put a cap of 40 on the number of students who will be able to participate.  Please let me know as soon as possible if you want to join so you do not miss out.  Depending on the number of parent confirmations I get, a lottery may need to be put in place for new students wanting to join.  Any student who has previously been on the team will have a spot as long as I receive a parent email confirming they are returning.  Students and parents will be asked to sign a good faith contract when they return to school so they know what my expectations are and what they are committing to.
There is a registration fee of $40 per student to help defray the costs of the program.  This money will be used to help pay for team t-shirts and competition registration fees.  Additional costs for the teams will be funded through a variety of other sources.  Please let me know as soon as possible if your son or daughter will be able to join the STA Robotics Team.  This year the $40 fee will be collected using your Smart Tuition account.  Once I know that your student is committed to joining the team I will let Mrs. Sochacki know to bill the fee.  I am looking forward to an exciting robotics season and hope your child can be a part of it.
Thank you,
Mrs. Hoy