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“Celebrate Community Prize” Winners Give Back

A little over a year ago, the M.A.R.S Rovers FIRST Robotics team captured hearts at the Community Foundation’s Annual Gathering and went home with the $10,000 “Celebrate Community” prize.

“I was truly humbled that the audience found our program to be worthy of the Prize,” said Michael Gerstweiler, Rovers team coach. “With the help of our community and this prize money, the Muskegon County robotics teams can continue to expand hands-on STEM education to more students in more schools.”

And what a year it has been. On the way to their first ever state robotics competition, the Rovers won Team Spirit and Excellence in Engineering awards and, at the state level, won the DTE Energy Foundation’s Creativity Award. Not to mention the experience, learning, and just plain fun of being part of a robotics team.

“FIRST Robotics is an opportunity to learn new skills that I will be able to apply later in life,” said North Muskegon 11th grader, Andrew Uriarte.  “It’s a program that can reach into your future and help you grab success.”

But building robots is just part of being a M.A.R.S Rover.

“We have received so much support from the community that our team decided to give back,” said team advisor Jamie Page. “Our off-season goal is to complete six community outreach projects.”

We caught up with the team hard at work removing six years of overgrown landscaping at Covenant Hall, the new dorm facility for homeless students attending Muskegon Covenant Academy. Look for the team around town, working hard and giving back.  Great team spirit, great community spirit!