Robotics competition Saturday at Palatka High open to public

Georgia Pacific sponsors students in sports-style robotics competition

By Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

PALATKA, Fla. - Robotics teams will compete Saturday at Palatka High School in the last meet of the season before the Northeast Florida FIRST Tech Challenge League championship.

It's the first time Putnam County has hosted the robotics competition, which will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is open to the public.

Teams will arrive at 8 a.m., technical inspections close at 10:20 a.m. and matchplay runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 

Teams have been working since August to design, build and program robots for a sports-style robotics competition season where teams of up to 15 students compete for access to over $80 million in scholarship money. 

Georgia Pacific has been the top sponsor for FIRST Robotics teams in Putnam County. The biggest employer in the county supports the students as part of a strategy to ensure they have a future workforce solidified for their advanced operations.

Terry Hadaway, director of outreach and communications, and Robert Knutesen, training lead engineer for Georgia Pacific in Palatka, have worked closely with Putnam County School District officials to ensure that robotics experiences for K-12 students are readily available with support from mentorship found in the engineering department at Georgia Pacific.

The financial contributions make sure that the teams have the parts they need to be successful as well as produce world-class competitions that ultimately send students to the FIRST World Festival in Houston each April. 

The public is encouraged to come and see the action and get involved.

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