RUSH Regatta sunk by COVID

Clarkston News Staff Writer
Students in the Clarkston High School Team RUSH 27 Robotics team usually spend most of July finishing their duct tape and cardboard boats for the annual regatta.
Like many events during the COVID-19 pandemic, the RUSH Regatta was also cancelled but plans for another event are in the works.
“We are going to do a gutter regatta,” said Kyle Hughes, Team RUSH Robotics Director. “I love the phrase COVID Sunk Our Ship and I love The Regatta Non-Regatta. We will have gutters filled with water and they will race their boats. The goal is mid-September.”
The students will receive a regatta boat kit and put it together. They will get together with their teams online using Zoom and discuss what they can do to make their boats more efficient.
Like the annual RUSH Regatta, students will call businesses to get sponsors for their boats.
“We don’t know if we are going to have a season, but we are going to press on like we will. Now is the time to raise money,” Hughes said, adding they know some businesses are still closed and some are reopening slowly.
“We are not expecting anyone to come see it except the kids. We will do a live feed or post a video later,” Hughes said. “We will get T-shirts for the kids with sponsors on the tess and what we can do now, which we didn’t have before, is have our sponsors on social media so when we do camps, we can say camps are ‘sponsored by…thank you to these companies.’ We are going to try to promote the companies more electronically.”
The Team RUSH students have also kept busy with a lot more.
“We just have not stopped,” said Hughes.
Team RUSH usually has in-person robotics camps during the summer. They changed it this year and held virtual summer camps for two weeks with a coding camp using Scratch and a 3D modeling camp using TinkerCAD.
“They were really successful,” said Hughes. “The high school kids and I wrote the curriculum. They meet with campers for an hour and a half a day, Monday through Thursday.”
She added the campers really liked interacting with the other campers and students from Team RUSH while learning and doing different things.
“We had them do bookmarks the second day,” Hughes said. “I had my RUSH students print them off with the 3D printer and they dropped them off. I sent out certificates. It just promotes the fun of learning the CAD software.”
Campers enjoyed it so much the first week they signed up for the second week as well.
“We didn’t anticipate this many kids would return but they did,” Hughes said. “It says something. I know my RUSH kids are awesome, and they manage the camp well. It’s been great.”
Last Wednesday, Team RUSH also started a four-week Planet Earth series for kids going into Kindergarten through third grade.
“They can get on Zoom for about an hour and learn about the planet and have some coloring sheets,” Hughes said. “If parents wanted their kids to do something for an hour, this would be a cool activity.”
Coming up next month they are going to have Professional Skills Career Development for students and parents every Wednesday on Zoom starting August 5, from 7 – 8 p.m. It includes resume training, interview preparation and mock interviews.
At the beginning of the shutdown, Team RUSH used 3D printers to make thousands of personal protective equipment pieces.
“We printed face mask shields and the pieces they attach to as well as the ear savers,” said Hughes. “It was crazy how much we printed at the beginning.”
They also took the non-perishable food they had for the competition season and donated it to Lighthouse.
“We didn’t know when we would be back, and we wanted to make sure someone got the food,” Hughes explained.
Also, during shutdown, especially the three weeks school wasn’t in session, Hughes sent messages to the RUSH students and gave them challenges to do.
“There were a lot of cool challenges,” Hughes said. “There were things we did which led us to where we are.”
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