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Arlington High School robotics club raises funds through recycling

From left, Arlington High School Robotics Club members Justin and Robert Haynes and Kori Bowns show off some of the electronic items they collected to help raise funds for their team. Oct. 2.  - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, Arlington High School Robotics Club members Justin and Robert Haynes and Kori Bowns show off some of the electronic items they collected to help raise funds for their team. Oct. 2.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — PC Recycle teamed up with Arlington High School Oct. 2 to help the school’s Robotics Club while giving area residents an opportunity to get rid of their electronic junk.

PC Recycle parked its collection truck outside of the school for the day, while Robotics Club students picked up items from the nearby Gleneagle and Crown Ridge neighborhoods for a suggested $5 pickup fee.

“PC Recycle provided their truck and a few of their employees and didn’t charge us anything,” said Mark Ehrhardt, technology director for the Arlington School District. “We had suggested donation prices for different electronic items, which will go to the Robotics Club to help pay for its FIRST Robotics Competition entrance and tournament fees. We’re into robotics and they recycle electronics, so it’s a great blend.”

Glenn Frable, a mentor for the Robotics Club, explained that registration alone for the competition costs $5,000, although he noted that much of this fee goes toward offsetting the cost of reserving the Qwest Field Event Center for 84 high school robotics teams for three days.

“The event is free to the public, which is part of the reason why the entrance fee is so high for the competitors,” Frable said. “The game changes every year, so we don’t even know what we’ll be building until the first week of January. From there we have six weeks to design, build and test our robot before it’s shipped off, after which we won’t see it again until the competition.”

Because everything above the basic kit of parts costs extra money, Ehrhardt estimated that the total cost to participate in an average competition is $10,000. He added that community groups such as Rotary and Kiwanis, and businesses such as Boeing, have contributed to help the Robotics Club pay for all its expenses.

“I like it because I get to learn new things and apply what I learn,” said AHS Robotics Club President Kori Bowns, a senior who’s been with the club for two of its three years in existence. “At the competitions, you get to meet people who are a lot like you and very different from you. it’s a challenge to come up with the design, and it gives students a good opportunity to get a taste of businesses have to coordinate, organize, and get parts and funding for their products in the real world.”

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