A new town-sponsored robotics team is searching for teenage members who want to collaborate with like-minded students in learning how to build a high-level, competitive robot and serve the community.

Team VoltEDGE Robotics will hold an informational meeting Saturday at 6 p.m. at Town Hall located at 413 N. Main St. in Mooresville, said Chris Blue, one of the team’s three founding members. The acronym in the team name stands for “education driving global empowerment,” said Blue, 16, a junior at South Iredell High School.

Students in grades 7-12 are welcome to attend the informational meeting, Blue said.

“A lot of people have a narrow view of what robotics is, kind of an antiquated view,” Blue said. But, the VoltEDGE Robotics team is searching for members who aren’t just left-brained but have skills in fundraising, social media, photography and public speaking, Blue said.

In other words, you don’t need experience in engineering or robotics to join, said Martina Vu, 17, who with Blue and Hamza Ishaque, 16, formed the robotics team. The trio sought to expand their South Iredell High School robotics team by asking the Mooresville Youth Council, a town-run volunteer group for students interested in community initiatives and service projects, for sponsorship.

With more brainpower, the team offers a higher level of competition against tough schools like the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Blue said. Ultimately, the team hopes to place at regional, state and world championship levels of the FIRST Tech Challenge competition, Blue said. “We’re shooting for worlds which is the top of the top,” Blue said.

At one level of the competition last year, the South Iredell High School robotics team was tasked with building and programming a robot that would move autonomously and pick up objects, Vu said.

Team VoltEDGE also has a mission of introducing robotics to area children and having local technology leaders speak to students about their careers.

“We kind of want to spread STEM throughout the community,” said Ishaque. “That’s our main goal while also going to nationals.”

The Mooresville Youth Council will give $4,000 to the team as its sponsor, said Blue, who is a member of the organization.

“I thought this was the perfect fit for the Mooresville Youth Council to sponsor since the Youth Council is comprised of civic-minded high school students,” said Rupa Venkatesh, the town’s advisor to the Mooresville Youth Council. “This is a great way for young people in Mooresville to be exposed to STEM, team building and mentorship opportunities.”

However, expenses serving the community and competing in competitions come closer to $10,000, Blue said. That’s why VoltEDGE is also seeking corporate sponsorships to help purchase tools, parts, equipment and office supplies, he said. Ten percent of the team’s sponsorship money will go towards outreach planning and STEM youth programs for the community.

The team is securing space at the NASCAR Technical Institute’s Mooresville campus to hold meetings, Blue said. On Saturday, the club demonstrated their robot-building skills at the Festival of Food Trucks in downtown Mooresville.

“STEM is a growing aspect of the modern world and I feel like to be more involved in our society it’s really helpful to be aware of these basic skills you can learn from here and which you can also expand on,” Vu said. “It helps many people learn what they want to learn in the future and beyond high school.”

For more information, email voltedegerobotics@gmail.com or follow @voltedgerobotics on Instagram.

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