By Meg Dickens
The Johnson County robotics program has flourished since its genesis in 2016. Both the JCMS and JCHS teams have won a plethora of awards and qualified for both state and world competitions. Their achievements attracted more enthusiasts and students to the program. The JCMS teams doubled in size for the 2019-2020 school year; JCHS added a team to its rosters as well.
It is no shock that these talented youths have garnered government support. State Representative Timothy Hill and State Senator Jon Lundberg bestowed a physical manifestation of this support with a $25,000 state grant, which they presented outside of Johnson County High School on Tuesday, September 3.
“In every conversation, Representative Hill was persistent in asking what we would need to keep this program going and how he could help. As the travel accommodations and competition fees are costly, State Representative Hill stated that he was working on something to help us keep the program going,” said Coach Quave. “He asked questions, he kept in touch, and he persisted. We are so appreciative of his friendship, support, and willingness to support our young engineers as they create and compete in such a challenging atmosphere and make their mark on the world stage of VEX robotics.”
According to Johnson County Schools Secondary Supervisor Dr. Stephen Long, the grant funds will be split evenly between the JCMS and JCHS programs. This money will help with program expenses, including equipment and competitions costs. The Joco Robos will have the materials and funding to continue flourishing.
“We see this as an investment,” Senator Lundberg explained. “Other students are following in their footsteps. These students raise the bar in robotics and are the future leaders in their field.”
JCMS Robotics Coach Susan Quave reports that Representative Hill and Senator Lundberg have been active supporters in the program since its beginning. Representative Hill frequently spoke at competitions and asked for updates every few weeks. Quave states that he passed Tennessee House Resolution 163 in the students’ honor. Representative Hill and Senator Lundberg hand-delivered sealed copies of the resolution to students. This resolution centers on recognizing student excellence.
“People know that it’s going on. People are paying attention,” said Representative Hill. “ Senator Lundberg and I want to make sure this program continues. I will never stop fighting for our students, teachers, and schools. I am proud to support our world-class robotics programs here in Johnson County.”