Sun Lakes Rotary powers robotics team to global meet - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Sun Lakes Rotary powers robotics team to global meet

June 9th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Sun Lakes Rotary powers robotics team to global meet


Rotary Club of Sun Lakes members and guests met students during a demonstration of the competitive robotics program it supports through a $2,000 donation.

Several teams of students attended a three-day tournament at the VEX IQ Middle School World Robotics Championship in Dallas and two teams reached the division finals by placing fifth and seventh in their divisions out of 800 teams from 40+ countries around the world.

An all-girl team won the Inspire Award for the second time.

“The world competition is the experience of a lifetime,” Sun Lakes Rotary spokeswoman Dr. Honora Norton said. “The opening ceremonies included a parade of nations, much like the Olympics. The closing ceremony is known for the game reveal for the next year.”

Sun Lakes Rotarians met three competitive teams with students from several CUSD schools and one student from a Phoenix High School. All the students attended Fulton Elementary School at one time or another. Current competitive students are from Gilbert’s Weinberg Elementary and Chandler’s Knox Elementary, San Tan and Bogle junior high schools.

The Robotic Competition teacher is Lori Ruff, a retired engineer who started teaching robotics at Fulton Elementary in 2017 and currently teaches robotics intro to 10 students there.

These students learn the fundamentals for a year before progressing to the competitive program. After teaching a group of middle school students on a volunteer basis for a couple years, Lori decided to form Robotics Edge LLC to teach competitive teams.

Her former students often come back to help coach the current students. Her dream has always been a self-sustaining program and this year she achieved it. Next year, she plans to have three elementary competitive teams, one middle school competitive team and a new high school competitive team.

As part of the Robotics demonstration at the RCSL dinner meeting held at Sun Lakes Palo Verde Restaurant, each student shared his/her best robotics learning experience. The students, as well as, Ruff, also expressed gratitude for RCSL’s several years of support of this exciting program.