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Hancock team demonstrates robot, commitment to school board

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Hancock seventh-grader Parrin Nordmark and sixth-grader Austin Goodall demonstrated the Vex Robotic team’s robot the team designed, and coded, to the Hancock School Board Monday evening. The robot was built to compete against other schools.

HANCOCK — Hancock School Board was treated to a demonstration of Barkell Elementary VEX Robot at the regular January meeting Monday evening.

Genevieve Nordmark, Barkell’s elementary STEM teacher and VEX IQ Robotics coach, told the board that Barkell hosted its first-ever VEX Robotics competition in November in order to qualify for state grants. The closest schools hosting competitions last year were all downstate, Nordmark said. To qualify for grants, the teams have to compete within Michigan.

To save travel expenses, the elementary and middle schools hosted their own tournaments.

The Hancock Middle School team qualified to go to downstate tournaments, as did two of the four elementary school teams. The tournaments are scheduled for the first weekend in March, Nordmark said.

Barkell Principal Dan Vaara said there were 20 students involved in four elementary robotics teams during the year, and the school hosted four events. Vaara congratulated the students and the teams and thanked Nordmark for her dedication.

“She’s done a lot to coach these teams,” said Vaara. “Mrs. Nordmark also teaches our STEM class, and I’m pretty sure they’re working on it during STEM class, too. I’ve watched these kids. They’ve given up every 10 o’clock recess, they work on robotics during every recess. They meet at least once a week after school.”

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