Grand Island Senior High School host first-ever robotics tournament

Local4 News at 6 Saturday
Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 10:24 AM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - History was made on the campus of Grand Island Senior High School, as one of the schools’ newest program took a major step forward. GISH hosted the “Clash on the Platte” Robotic Tournament. It’s the first time in school history a robotic tournament came to GISH and featured schools from across the region including the Cornhusker state, Kansas and Missouri.

“This event does two things for us,” said Alex Kemnitz, Robotic Teacher at Grand Island Senior High School. “First it helps get our name out there, right. Our teams learn a lot from being here at home. Our community learns a lot from being here at home as well, and also it helps support our team. So this helps us get donations and fundraising as well for our team. So it’s a big step for our program, because it kind of puts us on the map.”

Kemnitz said having schools from other states at tournament allows them to learn from one another. The event can also serve as a springboard for future robotics tournaments in Grand Island.

I think Grand Island is a community with lots of manufacturing, lots of automation, lots of skilled labor and jobs that require knowing robotics, knowing coding and stuff,” Kemnitz said. “But we haven’t we struggled to teach robotics to our students, right? This is a great vehicle to do that, to expose people young and old to robotics.”

GISH students feel the event will help the program gain more exposure. “It gives us more opportunities,” said GISH junior, Kadence Anthony. “Like right now, we don’t have as many students or like groups coming to our competition. But now that they’ve seen some students in other groups have seen it, they can it’s more likely for them to have more and have a bigger event.”

Some schools were pleased with the amount of attendees that came to watch young people show off their robotic skills. “I think it’s good,” said Nic Simonson, Robotic coach at O’Neill Junior-Senior High School. “They’ve got quite a few teams, a lot of kids participating. For us, that’s always been a challenge, is trying to keep our numbers up, keep enough kids interested and continue to do it throughout their entire high school career. So I think there the amount of teams among kids they’ve got, that’s a good thing.”

Others said this is just the beginning.

“This is cool enough as it is,” Kemnitz said. “We want to see it grow. We want to get more teams here. Want to get more industry involved with this. Right. We want this to be a resource for central and brassica for robotics, and I also want to see grow teams here. So for our outside communities, can we get more teams because it’s closer and can we just get more people interested in the robotics sector as well?”