K-12 students fight robots, code, engineer and more at SOKY Robot Royale

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Southern Kentucky school kids attended the SOKY Robot Royale Wednesday afternoon. After a two year break from COVID, the kids couldn’t be more excited to show off their robots or just have fun learning.

Close to 230 K-12 students from around 13 different schools got to check out all the event’s different computer-science related challenges.

“It’s a computer science extravaganza,” said Warren County Public Schools digital learning coach Matt Kresslein. “There’s coding and programming and making things move, and drones, and robots, and really high-level hands on activities for them to participate in. So really, it’s an introduction to these different things will hopefully leave them down the computer science pathway later in their life.”

Bowling Green Junior High 8th Grade Harper Ferrell showed off how she engineered light up birthday card. 

Bristow Elementary 5th Grade Griffin Pate spent some of the afternoon flying drones with his friends. “I think the most interesting part is programming the robots, because it’s a lot of trial and error,” he said. “And you know, it’s just fun to see in practice for our future.”

A couple of Bowling Green High School students explained how they friends fix the Chromebooks for their school district. They have about 4000 computers lined up right now. And they’re passing on their knowledge.

Bowling Green High School  junior Mason Marchionda said, “Everybody goes in for about an hour today and learns how to fix these Chromebooks for either minor inconveniences or other things that have happened throughout people’s lives using these these Chromebooks. I think it’s just a really unique opportunity for high schoolers to learn how to do stuff like this.”

At the end of the competition, a couple of kids earn prizes for their hard work, but at the end of the day their real rewards are strong foundations in STEM.

Marchionda said, “I think my main pursuit would really like to be something cyber engineering, maybe even something more hands on, moreso. – not necessarily something not even with computers – maybe with servers or something like that.”

“I do think we’ll have jobs in this,” said Pate. “Because if you’re an engineer or an architect you’ll be working with machines a lot, even a builder, engineering and stuff like that.”

Kresslein says he hopes teachers will incorporate fun computer science events into the schools.