Cranberry students present on technology programs

The Cranberry Area High School auditorium earlier this week was filled with the whirring sound of drones and robots, as students, teachers, families and board members gathered there to learn about the school’s technology programs.

Teachers Dan O’Brien and Zach Bedee gave a rundown.

The students have been learning throughout the year about technology through robots, drones and computer science, O’Brien said.

“There are so many facets to the program,” he said. “Students learn about engineering, guidance and control, troubleshooting, team-building and documentation.”

O’Brien pointed out that training in robotics, drones and computer science can lead to job opportunities for students, including in sectors of agriculture, transportation, health and rescue.

After O’Brien and Bedee shared information about the program, each robotics team gave a presentation on their respective robot and its capabilities.

School board members stood on the stage and watched as each robot moved across the arena during the students’ demonstrations.

One board member asked several of the teams what they learned from the project. One team answered the importance of teamwork and another said the satisfaction of putting in effort and seeing it pay off.

The high school team told the board they have been staying after school until at least 5 p.m. most days since November to build their robot. One night kept them as late as midnight when their notebook, which documented their progress, was due.

O’Brien said the eighth-grade students have also stayed after school and dedicated many hours to the project.

Their dedication has paid off, as one high school team and four junior high teams from Cranberry have qualified for the world competition.

The high school on Monday evening hosted a spaghetti dinner to raise funds for the robotics teams’ upcoming trip to Texas next month for the VEX Robotics World Championship.