Amendment secures funding for robotics program at high school

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North Attleborough High School

By Killian Maree-North Star Reporter Intern

North Attleborough High School has received a grant of $100,000 for a new robotics program.

The program is a part of the Innovation Pathway, a new approach to learning that incorporates different pathways for students to get experience in the workforce. Eventually, the programs will be included in the mechanical engineering and electrical engineering classes.

The funding comes through an amendment to the American Rescue Plan Act spending filed by State Rep. Adam Scanlon (D-North Attleborough). The House unanimously adopted the amendment containing $100,000 for the North Attleborough School Department. This funding will help cover equipment and startup costs to support another form of hands-on education and workforce development.

Scanlon also recently submitted a letter to DESE in support of North Attleborough public schools’ application for an Innovation Pathways grant that would create an advanced manufacturing program at the high school.

This is an opportunity to create a ‘school to work’ and career oriented program that connects local businesses with schools to prepare our students for the workforce,” wrote Scanlon in a press release. “An educational program such as this will work to address workforce shortage issues in the long term.”

Matthew Salmond, a physics and engineering teacher at the high school and the person who runs the robotics club, said that the club is perfect for anyone interested in having a career in engineering. The program will be hands-on, and will eventually include internships.

For now, the club is being held in one-hour meetings that take place in either Salmond’s classroom or the media center. Soon, however, the club hopes to move into a workshop that is a storage closet at the moment.

If Apple can be started in a garage, our competition team can be started in a storage closet,” said Salmond.

Salmond also said the money from the grant will go towards updating space, buying tools, higher-order robotics, and manufacturing parts.

In the future, Salmond is hoping to take the program to the next level and help the kids in the club get to local competitions. Within five to ten years, the goal is to get the team to a Vex Robotics competition, a company that holds competitive events known for having a more hands-on approach for teenagers.

I think the club does a great job mixing fun with education and competition and I believe that it will become a staple within the high school,” said Joe Paola, a student at NAHS and a member of the robotics club. “I want the club to grow in the future so it becomes a legitimately competitive team that gives students opportunities to work with industry-leading companies to further dive into their STEM-based careers.”

If all goes to plan, Salmond is hoping to bring the team to a competition in late January. Right now, the club will focus on clearing up space and finding the materials needed to practice and learn about their passions.