Charity of Choice: Robotics Team Needs $3,000

Charity of Choice: Ferndale High School FIRST Robotics Team Needs $3,000 to go to State Championship

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, April 1, 2012 ed)

The Ferndale High School FIRST Robotics Team, known as IMPI Robotics, is trying to raise $3,000 so they can go to the State Finals April 12-14th at Eastern Michigan University.  At the District Event in Livonia on March 30th and 31st they placed 11th out of 40 teams.  They are currently ranked 29th out of 190 teams in the state.  The cost to for the 20-member team to go to State Finals is $5,000.  They’re still short $3,000 so The Ferndale 115 News is among those helping to raise funds.

For the entire month of April, IMPI is our Charity of Choice.  That means that if you donate through The Ferndale 115 News, we will pass on 85% of the donations to the team.  We keep 15% to go towards operating costs of The Ferndale 115 News.  (Both after PayPal gets their cut of course)  If you’d like to donate online you can do so below.

IMPI Robotics is also taking donations directly, and selling LED light bulbs for $17,  $10 of which is tax deductible. Please contact Jeff Shewell at or call 248-259-3736 for more information.

Shewell is one of the volunteer engineering mentors. Cathleen Rutsey and Jim Watson are the other two engineering mentors and Elin Mathews and retired teacher Cheri Drukas are teachor mentors. “The robotics competition is less about robotics itself and more about making science, math, and engineering fun.  The students go to the competitions in large gymnasiums with 40-70 other high school teams, and they cheer on the robot that they designed and built.  That’s not something that they get in a normal science or math class.  Robotics is the spark for a lot of the students to decide to go into engineering.  The most rewarding thing for me it to see the students decide to go to college and become an engineer,” Shewell said.

The team of students builds a robot from the ground up in a six week time frame. The robots compete in some sort of a game that changes each year. This year’s game was similar to basketball, then at the end of the match, robots needed to get onto a teeter-totter bridge and balance for bonus points.

Watch the game here courtesy FIRST Robotics:

Ferndale has participated for the past five years, with a group of students from South Africa taking part as well. An Impi is a Zulu warrior, hence the IMPI team name.

Sophomore Krynn Porter says “IMPI Robotics is important to me because it helps build friendship, and leadership, we are all a big happy robotics family, we have our ups and downs but that’s what all families do. Being a part of this team I have learned more about engineering and science, it taught me what it’s like to be a part of a team, and work together.”


Brandon Abe Rosenblatt, a senior says, “Being part of FIRST Robotics has showed me how technology is constantly changing the world. FIRST Robotics allows students to have real-world experiences with engineering, innovation, and teamwork. I could not ask for a better gateway into engineering!”  Rosenblatt says he will be a strong leader because of his work on the team, and hopes to be a mentor in the future.

Senior Kenya Trammell says the bonds she’s made with each individual on the team is important to her.  “At the end of the day, seeing I had a part in building something great is an awesome feeling.  I’ve learned the value of teamwork and how important gracious professionalism is to truly succeed.”

Maddie Parks is on board with the teamwork.  The eighth grader says that robotics not only gives her great experience with tools and engineering, but she’s learned “that teamwork is the only way you can accomplish something well.”

Freshman Caroline Teets says “Robotics is helping me pave my way to my future, I’m learning valuable leadership and team work traits while acquiring engineering and craftsmanship skills that will be with me for a lifetime. I have also learned that helping others can in the long run help you, and that ‘cooperation’ can have huge benefits.”

Tenth grader Christina Feiner says, “Robotics is important to me because it allows me to learn new things while building an amazing robot, all while in a fun environment. I have learned many technical things but I feel like the skills that will help me the most are the communication skills, the team work skills and the leadership skills.

Learn more about the team at

To help them make it to finals, donate before April 11. Donations collected after that will still be given to the team but will be too late to help them make finals!

There will also be a fundraiser for IMPI Robotics at Ferndale’s Treat Dreams on Tuesday, April 10 from 4 – 8 PM. 25% of sales will go towards getting IMPI to State finals and a custom flavor Nuts and Bolts, will be available.

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