April 29 bottle, can drive to benefit robotics team

Berlin’s FIRST robotics team – the TechnoNuts – will host a bottle and can collection fundraiser at Berlin High School on Saturday, April 29. Team members will be at the Gibney Gymnasium entrance from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Berlin’s FIRST robotics faction is comprised of students from the high school and middle school. Officially formed in 1994, the TechnoNuts are considered to be the oldest FIRST robotics team in Connecticut.

“We’re celebrating 30 years of nuttiness this season," Helen A. deRito, an adult mentor, quipped.

The TechnoNuts meet year-round, with the active build season starting the first Saturday in January.

The team competes in at least two New England FIRST events each season, and at one or two competitions in the off-season. 

The current TechnoNuts roster includes 15 students from Berlin High and 14 from McGee Middle School. Team members are assisted by 12 adult mentors knowledgeable in the various fields necessary to build a competitive robot.

“Three of the adult mentors are team alumni who returned to the team as adult mentors,” deRito pointed out.

Tracey Wolski, a parent of one of the students, helps with fundraising. She said the TechnoNuts are not funded like a sports team, so events such as the bottle and can drive are very important.

Aside from competing, over the last few years, the TechnoNuts have collected items for a local food pantry and brought their robot to Little Blessings preschool for an interactive visit.

The team has participated in the Upbeat town-wide picnic and marched in the Memorial Day parade, as well. Also, the TechnoNuts have worked with local political leaders to push for more STEM education funding in Connecticut. 



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