MBC puts over $8,000 into robotics team

Published 11:04 am Thursday, February 11, 2016

Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. (MBC) will put over $8,000 into Central High School’s recently created robotics team.

The company has awarded $6,000 to the team to help offset the expenses, and pledged to make donations up to $4,000 in matching funds.

The Lunenburg team raised $2,270 that will soon be matched, said Jeremy Satterfield, director of community outreach and innovative programs for the company located in South Boston.

“Mid-Atlantic Broadband takes seriously its corporate citizen role to reinvest in the communities we serve,” Satterfield told the Lunenburg County School Board on Monday, Jan. 11.

Lunenburg’s team, known as The Central High Portable Chargers, is gearing up for two competitions in March.

“That’s another example of how education is changing and we need our kids to get this experience,” School Board Chairman Barry Carnes recently commented.

Satterfield said the company — which goes by the abbreviation MBC — “is proud to announce their commitment” to sponsor the 11 First Robotic Competition teams in Southern Virginia for the 2016 season.

Each of the teams receives $6,000, allowing it to acquire the FRC kit required each year for competition, and to register for two district events in the FIRST Chesapeake District — which brings together teams from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

“MBC is honored for the opportunity to partner with the Virginia-based affiliate of FIRST, an international non-profit mentoring organization that promotes a similar vision for students that are drawn to science and technology,” he told the board. “The level of commitment from these students, teachers and countless volunteers is breathing life back into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) based academia.”

Benchmark Community Bank and Virginia Marble have also donated funds to the Central High School team, and ACE Kenbridge Supply has donated tools for the team, school officials said. School officials hope the team secures additional donations.

The Central High Portable Chargers is one of six new teams from Southern Virginia. The others are the Cumberland High Gold Dukes, the Amelia County High Cyber Raiders, Tunstall High Trojans of Pittsylvania County, and the Sussex Central High Team T.I.G.E.R.S. The Halifax County High Cometbots have previously appeared in FRC competition, but have not fielded an FRC team in recent years.  Each of these teams received $6,000 to help cover the yearly expenses of competing as a team, and MBC provided each team a $4,000 challenge grant.

The veteran FRC teams are: the Martinsville High MADawgs; G.W. High Team Talon, of Danville; Altavista High Bionic Eagles, Bluestone High Skrappy’s Zoo of Mecklenburg County, and Piedmont Governor’s School for Mathematics, Science, & Technology STAGS of Martinsville. Each of these teams, too, benefited from the annual $6,000 donation.

Teams were introduced to the 2016 challenge in early January and will have six weeks to design, build, code, and test a robot that executes the task that was presented to them for competition, a statement from MBC said.

“Students participating in this program are challenged in multiple fields, including electronics, programming, pneumatics, business and marketing,” the statement said. “Each year, a new game is presented to the teams, giving these students the opportunity to expand their minds to create new solutions to the challenge that lies before them.”