Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Robotics Program Launched at Highland Park High


Add robotics to the class offering now available to students in Topeka Public Schools. An official ribbon cutting for the Advanced Automation Robotics Program at Highland Park High School was held this morning at the school. Nine students are signed up for the class which will meet two hours each day. The class is available to students from other high schools in the district as well. The instructor will be Bruce Babin, a former mechanical engineering professor at Kansas State University.

The robotics program is the result of a partnership between Topeka Public Schools, Go Topeka’s Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development Plan and Washburn Institute of Technology. High school students who complete the robotics class will be eligible to receive a certification with the job ready title of technician, operator or basic programmer. Yaskawa Motoman Robotics, one of the largest robotic companies in the world, will provide training for the program.

Markus Cowan, a senior at Highland Park, is one of the students who will be taking the robotics class. “I feel good because it is an opportunity to learn. It’s what I have been looking at on television. I’ll have a chance to build stuff and work with robotics and make them move.” HPHS sophomore Marces Cole is also taking the class. “I think it is a good move for Highland Park, especially this year. I’ve been wanting to do this ever since I was a little kid.”

Instructor Bruce Babin has already received training from Motoman Robotics. “I will start going through some basic programming with the kids getting them familiar with the robot. The kids will start playing with the robotics come September,” said Babin. Interim Superintendent Dr. Julie Ford and Board of Education member Hal Gardner are looking forward to the program. “This is exciting for Topeka Public Schools because it opens up another opportunity for career pathways and connections with post secondary education and the world of work,” said Ford. Gardner says the new robotics class is already generating a lot of attention. “We already have people in California and the east coast wanting to get involved and we are going to lead the way. So, I think it is a phenomenal experience for 501 and the kids,” said Gardner.