In April, the Cold Spring School (a science and environmental studies Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) Innovation Network School) robotics teams will be the only Indianapolis Public School (IPS) represented at the World VEX IQ tournament in Louisville, Kentucky. The World Championship brings together teams from around the world to compete. Cold Spring will have two teams competing.
The teams’ success is truly a testament to the power of community development and support.
The robotics team is a new program that started when the school received a grant through Tech Point Youth’s State Robotics Initiative that allowed them to purchase a robotics kit and get teacher training for the program.
With the kit came many talented and interested students, teachers excited to step in as coaches, parents committed to getting their students to practices and matches, and medical students eager to volunteer their time to make it a success.
Ten students from the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM) have spent the last year mentoring the team.
“They’ve been extremely helpful,” David Petty, environmental science teacher at Cold Spring School and coach of the robotics team, said. “They keep the kids on track and help them build teamwork and leadership skills. And, it’s paid off. Look where we’re going!”
Through MU-COM’s Pediatric Student Interest Group, medical students saw it as an opportunity to serve their neighbors.
“They’re learning team-building and interpersonal skills,” Tony Melillo, second-year medical student, said. “The kids are getting comfortable talking to adults outside of their zone of influence.”
And the Marian students benefit from it, too.
“It’s stress relief,” Rohn Nahmias, second-year medical student, said. “We’re studying all the time; so, hanging out with kids is fun. They’re light-hearted and positive.”
Having volunteers from Marian University will also allow Cold Spring School to add another team next year.
“They’re making expansion possible,” Petty said. “They’re letting more kids have this experience.”
In February, the team qualified for the world championship when they earned the following at State VEX IQ State Championships:
- First Place in STEM Research Project (prosthetics for children)
- First Place in Think Award (programming skills)
- Second Place in Skills (driving skills and programming)
- Second Place in Overall Team Alliance (points scored in matches)
And once more, the community can come together in support of these incredibly bright students on their quest to become world champions. Help the team with the costs of the trip by contributing to their GoFundMe page.
This program is just one example of the incredible collaboration between Cold Spring School and Marian University. In recent years, Marian faculty and students have helped Carrie Scott Bruns, principal of Cold Spring School, to transform the school through volunteering and collaborating. In 2016, Marian University officially adopted Cold Spring School as a lab school.
“We believe that by working with community leader in our neighborhood, we can truly transform the lives of those who live, work, learn, and play here, and thus, transform our city,” President Daniel J. Elsener, said.