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High schoolers give youngsters lessons on ROVs

News Photo by Julie Goldberg Ella White Elementary School fifth-graders learn about remotely operated vehicless with the Alpena High School ROV team Thursday at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.

ALPENA — The Alpena High School ROV team was at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center Thursday teaching fifth-graders how to drive a remotely operated vehicle.

As part of its community outreach initiative, two members of the ROV team taught Ella White Elementary School fifth-graders how an ROV works.

Alpena seniors Josh Beatty and Savannah Thomson helped students learn about ROVs and what it takes to build them.

“It’s cool because every one of them is like, ‘Wow, you guys built that? You’re using an XBox controller? You use a computer?'” Beatty said. “It’s cool to be able to hear their amazement and excitement.”

The team is traveling to Kingsport, Tenn. in June for the 2019 MATE International ROV Competition and Thursday was a part of their community outreach initiative for the competition. They have to show judges their commitment to the community and how they help the community beyond the competitions.

“They’re interested in knowing, what is this team doing to influence the community (and) what are you doing to influence younger students?” Ella White fifth-grade teacher Bob Thomson said.

The team has worked with younger students before. Thomson said they usually go for a glass-bottom boat tour with the kids.

“We can show them a competitive robot that we also use double as research and then we also have the blue robotic ROV,” Savannah Thomson said.

The fifth-graders learned that there are different aspects to an ROV. Savannah Thomson said most of them wouldn’t get the exposure to that before, but they were able to experience that on Thursday.

“It’s nice to be able to have something in Alpena like this that sets our school district apart, compared to school districts like Traverse City that have a lot of funding and stuff, but they don’t have a national marine sanctuary,” she said.

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com.