LaBrae schools receive grant for robotics

LEAVITTSBURG – LaBrae schools received a $13,163 grant to be used for reinstating a Lego Robotics program for middle school students next school year.

Technology instructor Joe Slifka said he applied for the grant through Toshiba America Foundation and received word he had received the grant. He said it will be used for a Lego Robotics program for grades six to eight for the 2014-15 school year.

Lego Robotics programs are featured in area schools, including Lordstown and Warren, which take part in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League competitions at Youngstown State University. The competitions involve building and operating a robot from Legos.

Getting students interested in robotics at the middle and junior high levels will help continue their interest into high school, Slifka said.

He said there has been a group of students who have expressed interest in robotics.

The Board of Education approved the grant at their April meeting. Members noted it was an exciting opportunity for the students.

Board President Russell Sewell said Slifka was the one who was instrumental in getting the grant to get the program started again.

“This is a huge grant that will get our students started once again in robotics,” he said.

Sewell said a program had existed at one time in LaBrae involving robotics but it disappeared more than six years ago.