GRANDVILLE, MI - In a significant step towards expanding educational opportunities in the field of robotics, Grandville Public Schools has announced a groundbreaking partnership with Bradford White Corporation, a renowned manufacturer of water heaters, boilers, and storage tanks. The partnership involves naming rights to the district's new Robotics Fabrication Lab at the state-of-the-art Robotics Competition Center, located in Grandville, Michigan.
The collaboration was made possible through the Industry Forward® program, Bradford White Corporation's signature charitable giving initiative, which aims to support meaningful workforce development training, education, and exposure to industry careers for students. The Robotics Fabrication Lab will serve as the focal point for this partnership, fostering innovation and learning in the field of robotics.
Superintendent Roger Bearup expressed his excitement about the partnership, stating, "We are excited to partner with such a great organization as Bradford White. We are grateful for their support as we provide an amazing learning environment for our scholars!"
For Bradford White Corporation, this collaboration represents a strategic move towards investing in the future of Michigan's students. Rebecca Owens, senior communications manager at Bradford White Corporation, commented, "We are thrilled to be partnering with Grandville Public Schools and to provide funding that will positively impact the students in Michigan through meaningful workforce development training and education and exposure to industry careers. Their robotics program has a successful history, and we look forward to a great partnership together."
This new alliance marks a significant milestone for the Grandville Robotics program, which is celebrating its 25th year. Under the five-year agreement, Bradford White Corporation will provide $25,000 in annual funding to support the robotics teams and events at the Robotics Competition Center.
Doug Hepfer, President of the Grandville Academic Team Boosters (GATB), highlighted the importance of long-term sponsorships like this one. "Long-term sponsorships like this allow us to invest in equipment and make multi-year commitments that expand competitive robotics opportunities for students in Grandville and students from across the Great Lakes region. I would be remiss not to mention that we still have naming rights opportunities at this unique facility, including naming rights for the main competition arena," Hepfer said.
Grandville Public Schools has been a trailblazer in the field of educational robotics for a quarter of a century. Starting with just one high school robotics team in 1998, the program has now grown to encompass more than 100 teams, involving over 700 students. These students participate in various robotics competitions around the world, showcasing their skills in designing, building, and programming robots.
The district's robotics program is comprehensive, including over 20 Lego League and VEX IQ teams for fourth through sixth graders, who later progress to participate in the VEX Robotics Competition at the middle and high school levels. Additionally, Grandville fields middle school drone teams in the RECF Aerial Drone Competition, while the Grandville High School RoboDawgs stand out as one of the largest and most accomplished high school robotics teams in the United States.
Grandville High School also takes part in the FIRST Robotics Competition, VEX AI, and Bell Advanced Vertical Robotics, where students build autonomous vehicles for competitions on land, water, and in the air. Moreover, the RoboDawgs' high-altitude balloon program conducts groundbreaking research in near space, aiming to achieve long-distance sustained high-altitude balloon flight through neutral buoyancy.
With this new partnership, Grandville Public Schools is set to continue its legacy of excellence in robotics education, empowering students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the fast-evolving world of technology and innovation. The Bradford White Robotics Fabrication Lab at the Robotics Competition Center promises to be a hub of creativity and collaboration, propelling Grandville students into a bright future filled with opportunities in STEM-related fields.