Southern Star continues support for Western KY school robotics teams

Southern Star and the Foundation for Daviess County Public Schools announce the second year of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) partnership in support of Apollo, Daviess County and Owensboro Innovation Academy’s high school robotics teams.

“Going into the second year of our partnership with Southern Star, we couldn’t be happier to continue our relationship!” stated Jonathan Leohr, who coaches the Apollo and Daviess County High School VEX robotics teams. “One of our biggest challenges is finding enough volunteers to host a robotics competition.  Having the support of Southern Star and their knowledgeable volunteers is a tremendous help.  It is a valuable experience for our students to visit their facility. During the visit, students demonstrated their skills and met in small groups with engineers to discuss future options not just with Southern Star but with engineering in general.”  

Last year, the two schools’ teams qualified for the state competition, with their highest ranked team finishing in 13th place. The teams aspire to make it to the World Championships next.

Several students have expressed appreciation for the partnership.

“The personal meetings with Southern Star introduced us to community interactions we had not experienced, and allowed us to explore possibilities and ideas we had never dreamed of,” said Apollo senior Sara Gootee.

“Southern Star’s partnership has provided us with volunteers and useful help that has contributed to the overall success of our program during competition season,” said Apollo junior Jackson Lindsey. 

“Our goal is to compete at the world competition this year in Louisville.  Having Southern Star as a sponsor helps my team to buy the necessary equipment to build a robot that can potentially compete at that level,” said Sam Ling, senior at Daviess County High School.

Karen Goedde, Director of Corporate Communications and Public Relations, stated, “Both Apollo High School and Owensboro Innovation Academy have excelled with their Robotics Teams.  The students have demonstrated their leadership and engineering abilities to set them apart from other schools across the state and country.  Southern Star and our employees are honored to be partner with both teams.  We are excited to see what they will accomplish during this upcoming competition season!”

Stephanie Gray, VEX Robotics Coach at Owensboro Innovation Academy, said, “Having Southern Star as a sponsor in invaluable, particularly when it comes to the number of volunteers that are needed to host a VEX Robotics Tournament.  We are hosting teams from across the state of Kentucky in a tournament in December.  It takes over 30 volunteers to host an event like this. Southern Star not only provides monetary support, but they volunteer at this event by judging engineering notebooks and refereeing the matches.

In addition, our students were able to visit Southern Star last year and showcase their robots.  It was great to see the students interacting with adults in this environment.  The employees of Southern Star were able to convey to the students that being involved in a program like VEX Robotics helps them to develop essential problem solving skills.”

Apollo Robotics and Daviess County Robotics will compete in the Owensboro Innovation Academy Jingle Bot Rock (Owensboro Middle School) on December 14. Apollo will host the Eagle Nation Challenge 2020 on February 15 at Apollo High School. The state competition is March 14, 2020, at Martha Layne Collins High School in Shelbyville. The World High School Robotics Championship will be on April 25, 2020.

Southern Star proudly supports each team and wishes them success with their future tournaments!