State lawmakers recognize regional robotics team champs

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Pettalia, Moolenaar host Thunder Bay students to Capitol visit

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Team members, pictured from left: Josh Beatty, Savannah Thomson, Nate Cosbitt, Sam Beatty, Elizabeth Thomson, Breanna Domrase. Back row: Pettalia, Bob Thomson, Katie Thomson, Ann Cosbitt, Lisa Beatty, Moolenaar.

State Rep. Peter Pettalia and Sen. John Moolenaar welcomed the Thunder Bay Junior High students on the UR2 Underwater Robotics Engineering Team to the state Capitol this week to recognize their accomplishment on a Great Lakes Regional first place win. The team also garnered two of three top engineer awards for its remotely operated vehicles (ROV) competition.

“The team’s success shows how important skilled trades learning opportunities can be, even starting at a young age,” said Pettalia, R-Presque Isle. “These kids have generated great pride in our part of the state and their talent, teamwork, and determination have earned the respect of ROV followers and teams elsewhere in Michigan.”

The UR2 Underwater Robotics Engineering Team was created by Robert Thomson, teacher at Sanborn Elementary School in Alpena, and is hosted by the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

“I have long been a supporter of career and technical education and this robotics team is one example of having our students apply their skills in a fun, competitive environment,” said Moolenaar, R-Midland. “I was proud to meet these outstanding students and hear about their experiences. I want to congratulate them on their success, and I encourage them to continue to hone their skills and use their creative talents to help re-energize our economy.”

The first place regional competition finish qualified the team to represent Michigan and the Greater Great Lakes Region at the June international ROV competition in Seattle, Wash. in June. They will be competing against the other regional winners world-wide.