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Rotary gets behind fledgling robotics club


Thirteen-year-old Sam Hoffman always wanted to learn coding and last year, the New Hope-Solebury Middle School student got his chance, when the school launched its robotic club.

Hoffman, now in 8th grade, jumped at the chance to join the club and this year, a five-member team won the Judges Award at the highly competitive VEX competition. There are 20 students in the club, noted its advisor and the school’s librarian, Craig Smith, but not all are interested in competing. “Some just want the experience of creating a robot.”

Now, the club has its eye on next year’s challenge.

“The process of designing, building, coding, testing, failing and redesigning is what’s so valuable to the kids,” said Smith. “That’s why I love it – it’s so genuine.”

Hoffman said he’s already learned a lot from the robotics club. “I learned about working together as a team, I learned to finish, prepare to fail and go and design it again.”

School board member Mark Cowell, along with Smith, is now hoping to kickstart a competitive robotics club at the high school.

Cowell, a longtime member of The Lambertville-New Hope Rotary Club, said a fundraising buffet dinner will be held 5 p.m. May 19, at the River Cat Café in New Hope. Free parking will be available behind the restaurant. The Rotary is asking for a $60 donation, with checks made payable to the Rotary.

Hoffman said, the middle school club is building a robot to demonstrate at the Rotary event.

The New Hope-Solebury Education Association helped the middle school club purchase its latest VEX completion kit, with a $2,000 donation, said Smith.