Katherine Poe & Mackenzie Bennett at WKHS
As the weeks count down to the new year, members of the WorBots at Worthington Kilbourne High School prepare for the unveiling of the updated national challenge presented by the First Robotics Competition (FRC). Each year, new technical requirements and complex dimensions are added for teams who build robots for competition with other schools.
This, combined with Worthington’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program, is helping prepare students for a future that will include the need for problem solving. In the case of those who go on to study engineering or science after high school, the work in the lab will lay a necessary foundation for the future.
And in a career path dominated by men, two young women have taken a prominent role as key leaders of the WorBots. Juniors Katherine Poe and Mackenzie Bennett help steer the robot, and the team during the competition.
“You can tell there are more males than females,” Poe said, “but I wouldn’t say it’s an obstruction in any way. If anything, it motivates me to do better, not because I have something to prove, but because I know that my sex doesn’t have anything to do with my abilities in the classroom. I’m pushing to do as well as I can regardless of the competition in the class.”
By offering programs that other school districts might not, Worthington Schools is helping make futures brighter.
“I think that in Project Lead the Way, what you’re learning will help you in the real world,” Bennett said. “PLTW is a thought provoking class that makes you really think about what you’re doing and how it will apply.”
The WorBots’ work space is in what used to be the school’s woodshop. Remaining on the cutting edge of education means transitioning and adapting classroom spaces. Worthington Schools also believes it is important to provide hands-on learning experiences and real-life applications that create college and career ready students.
Poe and Bennett will be keys to the WorBots’ work as they build, test and rebuild their robot for the competition season. During the events, they will be front and center as the drivers. The two are also helping design the team’s website and are working with other team members on fundraising efforts.