January 7, 2012

My Letter to the Editor -- Prior Lake American, January 7, 2012 Edition

Appreciative of robotics team 


As the year 2011 comes to a close and I reflect about the things that I should be appreciative of in my life, one thing stands out to me brightly: The Prior Lake middle school robotics club.


My twin sons had the great experience of participating in this program this year. At first, my wife and I were quite skeptical when the boys brought home a box full of robot parts and a manual. But lucky for us, we ended up on a team with some other fabulous families in the community who had some experience and helped our boys through the process. As part of the program, our sons had to learn the fundamentals of engineering and software development to create these cool little machines that would eventually roll around and dump footballs into boxes.


Working as a team, they learned skills that will definitely be useful to them in the Real World someday. The emphasis was on concepts like gracious professionalism and fair play, rather than becoming the dominant team that will crush the rest. These are skills that I want my kids to be learning. In reward for their hard work, they had the chance to compete in an incredible tournament sponsored by the Prior Lake High School Robotics Team, KING TeC.


Those awesome kids did such a great job at putting on the event. From working with each team to help create their robots, to announcing and judging the final matches, these kids should be considered pillars in our community. They put on this incredible event that made all the participants feel like rock stars while their bots battled one another. In the end, who won didn’t matter, be-cause every child in the program gained fabulous life lessons and also had a whole bunch of fun.


Specials thanks go to Joe Passofaro and his wife, April. It is my understanding that their son started the program and they’ve been the parent guides since the beginning. I understand Joe’s volunteer days will come to an end at some point in the near future because his oldest child will be graduating from high school. I sure hope the Prior Lake school system does something to figure out a way to keep the program going, because I want to see a robotics program available to my boys when they get to high school.


Todd Swank 
Prior Lake

Read More: Prior Lake American - Letters from the Jan 7 2012 edition