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Ayer-Shirley Robotics Fundraise to Make a Difference

AYER – The Ayer Shirley Regional High School Robotics team, Andromeda One, wanted to find a way to have an impact in the community and make a difference in the world around us. Mission accomplished. This year, as a part of the team's community outreach program, Andromeda One was able to fundraise $1,250 to purchase water filters for the people of Ukraine. Allan Peterson is a mentor in the school’s robotics program for the past four years. Peterson sat down with the Ayer-Shirley Tracker and talked about the program and what inspired the team to fundraise and lend a helping hand. “Giving back to the community is part of the foundation of our team. Some years we work with local organizations, however this year with the needs of the people in Ukraine we decided to partner with the Rotary clubs in Westford and in Germany and raise funds to purchase water filters to be used by the people of Ukraine,” said Peterson during a recent interview from inside the school’s library. “One of the things the team looked at this past year was how could we have some community outreach more than just building a robot. We decided to really go broad this year and with the situation that’s going on in the Ukraine, it really hit home and we wanted to look into how we could try and help.” According to Peterson, the money the team raised went to purchase four Aquabox Community Water Filters. The filters will be able to produce one million gallons of clean water. This equates to enough water for close to 290 families for an entire year. “What bigger impact can you have than being able to allow a family to drink clean water,” said Peterson. “We were able to raise $1,000 and the Rotary Club in Westford donated $250 and that’s how we came to the total of $1,250. It’s something that you can be really proud of. It’s about having an impact and trying to make a difference.” What is Andromeda One you might ask? Peterson explains. “Andromeda One is part of the first community of technology or STEM. The first program begins in the elementary schools, fourth and fifth grade, where you learn basic coding and building robots out of Legos,” said Peterson. “From there, there are two programs you can expand to. The first technology team is middle school challenge and first robotics is high school. Ayer Shirley is fortunate because we have all three programs. Not a lot of schools in the area offer all three.” Peterson went on to say that currently the school’s First Robotics program has 23 students and 20 mentors involved. “The program, which is 10 years old, has definitely grown over time. Last year our team was able to make it to the world championship in Houston, Texas,” said Peterson. “This year we’re hoping to make it to that level again in late April. We have people involved with the group with a wide range of expertise from software engineers and people with doctorates to dads like me who just want to help out.” Annika Farley is a sophomore at Ayer-Shirley Regional High School and a member of the first robotics team. She is in her second year with the school’s robotics program. Farley spoke with the Tracker about her involvement in the program. “Being a part of the program has been an awesome experience for me. Not only have I been able to partake in numerous STEM activities but also the team dynamic has been a huge thing for me,” said Farley. “I get the chance to work with several people with different backgrounds and different experiences to try and build something amazing. Also, going to competitions and meeting new people has been a great experience.”


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