MCC Elementary students enjoy first Robotics season

MANISTEE — School officials everywhere will agree that Robotics is one of the fastest growing student activities in the state.

Easton Kequom celebrates as Cory Whitman scores points in the Robotics competition.

When Bobbi Rogers Krause and some other parents began to formulate an elementary school Robotics program at Manistee Catholic Central last fall, they hoped it would would go over with the students. Any early reservations quickly disappeared as the students not only embraced it, they loved every minute of it.

Rogers Krause and the coaches thought the team might be at a slight disadvantage because they started later than everyone else, but what they lacked in practice time they more than made up in enthusiasm.The team competed in two matches this year and wrapped up their season in Elk Rapids recently.

“I think they did fantastic for a first year team that started late in the season,” said Rogers. “Even with missing practices from snow days the students were able to build on their experience from the first competition and did even better this time.”

Rogers said the competitive aspects of the program really challenged the students. They received support from the Manistee Catholic Central Foundation and from a state grant.

Cy Kosmowski and Aiden Luomala have their robot pick up one of the objects on the course to move it into place.

“I like this program because it was really strong in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) areas,” Rogers said. “We started a program with Vex Robotics and it is a competition robotics. What we do is build our robots, which takes about six to eight hours to accomplish. There are about nine designs that are pre-designed and the students pick out the one they would like and build it.”

Team members this year were Abigail Harvey, William Gauthier, Holly Brindle, Nicolas Krause, Judah Korzeniewski, Sopha Shobe, Aiden Luomala, Cy Kosmowski, Easton Kequom, Cory Whitman, Travis Newenhouse, Riley Sturgeon and Dalton Diep.

The team of Cy Kosmowski and Aiden Luomala tied for second place at the Elk Rapids competition and just missed out going to the state tournament. Students are challenged to do a series of activities with their robots and are awarded points with every one they complete in the one minute match.

“Scoring is cooperative competition as both teams from MCC work to score as much as possible and the two scores are added together as a total,” said Rogers Krause. “There were a total of 130 matches by all of the teams at the Elk Rapids match.”

Rogers said the action is quick in nature and the students have to be at the top of their game, even though they are only in the third and fourth grades.

Holly Brindle and Abigail Harvey show good teamwork in the Elk Rapids competition. This is the first year that Manistee Catholic Central hosted an elementary Robotics team.

“It is a fast moving event with matches happening every minute,” said Rogers Kraus. “This is a student led event and all robots had to be designed and built by the students. Students had to to do the matches, inspection and team meetings on their own and we had six teams teams competing in it.”

Plans are already in the works to expand on the MCC program in the 2019-20 school year.

“Next year we plan to introduce coding to the students, so they are able to customize their robots and up their scoring ability,” said Rogers Krause. “We plan to attend some summer workshops to advance our skills and be ready to start working early next season.”

Rogers Krause said they are looking for sponsors to help with the cost, and anyone who is interested should contact the school at (231) 723-2529.


Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at

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