A robotics team partnered with Dodge and Armory Garage to host a test drive in an effort to raise money for the Colonie Central High School Robotics Team.
For the second year in a row, Colonie Central participated in the Dodge Booster Club Initiative, a nationwide effort to support school-based activities on Thursday, May 15. For the event, Armory Garage supplied four 2014 Dodge vehicles — a Charger, Dart, Durango and Grand Caravan — to be test driven by licensed drivers 18 and over. For each test drive, Dodge donated $20 to the robotics team. Last year, they were able to raise over $4,000. The maximum amount donated cannot exceed $5,000.
“We had learned about this sort of fundraiser from some other teams that participate in First Robotics, which is the program we offer to our high school students here,” said team organizer Deb Saulsbery. “We’re very fortunate that Armory decided to partner with us because it is up to the dealership to decide whether or not they want to participate in this event.”
Capital Q BBQ was there to supply food, and for $12 a meal people could get pulled pork or pulled chicken sandwiches with a variety of sides, a drink and a dessert. People who test drove vehicles were given a coupon for $2 off their dinner.
Capital Region Robotics sponsors the CCHS Robotics Team. The team is recognized by the school as an academic team, and the participants are issued letters the same as athletic teams.
“Our kids work extremely hard when they are on a team. They are required to put in at least 55 hours of active, constructive participation, but the majority of them exceed 100 hours during the six-week build period,” said Saulsbery.
The money raised pays for a wide variety of expenses such as registration fees for competitions, parts for the robots, administrative costs and travel. The school does not cover any of the team’s expenses, but it does host the team and provide a teacher from the school to assist members. When budget cuts eliminated many of the clubs in the district, the robotics team and the ski club were the only clubs not cut because they do not cost the district money. Students are not required to pay to participate.
“We do not charge students any money to part of this team. … We really feel strongly that any student that feels interested in participating in this activity should be able to without regards to their family’s financial situation,” said Saulsbery.
There are 20 to 25 mentors who volunteer their time to the club. Many of the parents work in a technical field. When students graduate, their parents generally stop working with the team so new mentors are always welcome.
“It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, and I’ve been part of this for 15 years,” said Saulsbery.
Steven Wolff, a senior at Colonie High School, has been on the team all four years he has been in high school and said the event was successful when they first held it, so the team decided to bring it back.
“We did the same thing last year and everybody liked it so much that we tried to do the same thing this year, and Dodge was kind enough to help us out again. The mentors set up a date, and we had to work through the school to try and set up the car show at the same time,” said Wolff.
The Tech Department attempted to hold its 14th annual car show where students, faculty and members of the community showcase rare, classic and rebuilt cars. Due to the weather, that event was canceled.