View Mobile Site


County-wide robotics team preparing for the future

Posted: September 13, 2012 5:50 p.m.
Updated: September 14, 2012 5:00 a.m.
Miciah Bennett/C-I

Senior Aaron Adolphson, 17, talks about one of the challenges he faced and eventually solved when putting together his first FTC robot with the KC Revolutionists robotics team. Adolphson is the only senior on the team.

View More »

The KC Revolutionists (KCR) robotics team members is changing the way we build the future.

The team, created in 2005, was open to Lugoff-Elgin High School (L-EHS) students only until 2010. The team, now made up of students from L-EHS and Camden High School (CHS) and a homeschool student, met Monday in the L-EHS Annex to kick of the 2012-2013 school year. The team has previously had up to 26 members, but currently has 12, Co-manager and team mentor Paul Sullivan said. Sullivan, an engineer, has been with the team since 2006; his wife, L-EHS science teacher Holly Sullivan, started the team. The KRC competes in two different competitions each year: they are team 208 in the FIRST Technology Challenge (FTC) and team 1553 in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).

FIRST stands for Foundation For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. The foundation was created in 1989, with its “flagship” high school program, the FRC, starting in 1992. In FRC competitions, teams have six weeks to design and build a 120-pound robot. Today, the FRC has more than 2,000 teams. FIRST provides scholarships to students all over the county for participating in robotics competitions.

KCR has its first competition Oct. 13 at Irmo High School and is anticipating a competition at the North Charleston Convention Center next spring; both are free to the public. Their biggest challenge, however, is money, Sullivan said. The KCR is supported through individuals and groups in the Kershaw County community. The group currently has a Food Lion MVP card, where the community can donate money to the team, but the KCR is currently seeking business partners to donate materials and financially support the team.

A robotics team is “an expensive program,” said science teacher Leanne Joyner, “the mother hen” of the group.  Competitions can cost a robotics team $10,000 to $15,000 each year. It costs $5,000 just to enter an FRC competition. Each year, the team gets a kit that contains basic parts for robots. The team reuses parts from previous robots when they can, but spends about $4,000 in additional parts each year to meet the needs of the challenge requirements that vary from year to year.

Although the team is looking to see financial growth in order to support the team, Joyner says the team sees constant and measurable growth in their students:

“It’s really a huge confidence builder, they come completely out of their shell,” she said.

The team has five mentors: two teachers and three volunteers who help with the technical aspects required of a robotics team. They are looking for more help from volunteer mentors and students, however. Interested students should have at least a ‘C’ average, Sullivan said.

It’s junior Logan Skrabak’s third year on the robotics team. Logan, 16, said he has always liked robots, and joined the team after a teacher mentioned it to him. 

“I’m loving it,” he said. “Everything came together and … I really like to … work and compete with the robots.”

The robotics team provides hands-on experience for future careers and team work, said mentor Larry Slade. Slade, who joined the team in January, said he enjoys making sure the “boys and girls are headed in the right direction.”

“Everyone has different talents and so we try to use those,” he said.

Austin Branham, 17, Brandon Walters, 14, and Nicholas Rangers, 14, all said being on the robotics team will help them with their future engineering careers. Austin Massey, 14, who has his eyes set on the Marine Corps, said his time on the robotics team will feed his interest in electronics. Although they are preparing for their future they like “hanging out with friends and the mentors,” said Austin Branham, who is a returning member.

Sidney Goff, 15, is one of two girls on the robotics team this year. She said math, science and English are the classes that will help make valuable team members. Sidney’s interest in robotics developed from her interest in “building” and “tinkering” with things.

Aaron Adolphson, 17, the only senior on the team, said throughout his years on the robotics team, he has learned the principles and concepts of electronics and engineering. Aaron said he is interested in aerospace engineering.

“It’s an exploratory experience,” he said of the KCR robotics team. “There’s something for everyone: programming, design, finances. There are a lot of aspects in keeping a robotics team together,” he said.

The KRC is in the process of becoming a 501(c)3 organization. Under non-profit status, the team can apply for grants and donations can be credited for a tax-exemption.  Visit for more information on the KC Revolutionists.


Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.

Contents of this site are © Copyright 2018 Chronicle Independent All rights reserved. Privacy policy and Terms of service

Powered by
Morris Technology
Please wait ...