By Courtney Essett
INDIANAPOLIS — INDIANAPOLIS— It was officially 34.2 degrees on Saturday, but that didn’t stop the Brownsburg High School Robotics team from jumping into Eagle Creek.
BHS Robotics team 3176 participated in the 2011 Polar Plunge, a national fundraiser for Special Olympics that’s in its 19th year. The event raised more than $1 million nationwide, with more than $2,000 coming from Team 3176.
The BHS team has 10 student and three staff jumpers, and towel buddies on hand for moral support and warmth after the jump. Their fundraising goal was $750, which they quickly surpassed.
“These guys did an outstanding job without any direction,” said Dermot Nolan, team engineering mentor.
In addition to being a competitive robotics team, the team is also committed to giving to local communities.
Marc Braun, teacher sponsor for 3176, said at the event “What we’re doing here is trying to extend our gracious professionalism to the Special Olympics.”
Hundreds of nervously excited jumpers and spectators wandered around Eagle Creek Reservoir and enjoyed music from Radio Now 100.9. Team mentor Chris Noble said he was excited about jumping, but wary of the cold temperatures.
“I just hope the towels there soon after,” he said.
Many teams donned costumes and capes for their plunge. Team 3176 took innertubes into the water for their plunge, in support of their upcoming FIRST Robotics competition.
FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a multinational organization that seeks to change the way students see engineering, science, and technology. Teams of high school students, teachers, and engineers from around the country build robots from parts and compete with other teams around the world.
This year’s competition is called Logo Motion and will be at Purdue University March 17-19. In Logo Motion, teams compete to have their robots hang as many inflated plastic shapes as possible on an elevated grid. The robot will then deploy minibots that race to the top of a pole.
“It’s kind of like a forklift, in a nutshell,” BHS senior Alex Hein explained.
The team recently completed work on their robot and shipped it to West Lafayette last Tuesday
“First, it’s about building the robot, but it’s also about extending gracious professionalism,” Hein said. “It’s about giving back to the community.”
For more information on the BHS Robotics team, visit the website at http://team3176.com.