When school resumes in the fall, so do all its clubs, and Zebrotics, the robotics club at Community, is no exception. Led by Christia West, one of Community’s science teachers, the club is off to a steady start for the coming year.

Recently, the club recruited about 15 new members at the Club Fair, an event at the beginning of the year where students have the opportunity to learn about and join Community’s various clubs. However, Zebrotics is very different from most school clubs—it’s more than just a group of students sharing their hobby.

“It’s more like a varsity team,” West said about Zebrotics. “In fact, the other schools actually get varsity letters in this. [Community] doesn’t give letters, but it is much more like a team sport than a club. And the big thing about participation in the robotics competition is that there’s a lot of scholarship money available for students who participate in FIRST Robotics.”

Every year, Zebrotics competes against over 7,300 teams across the nation in the FIRST Robotics Competition, which is a six-week championship involving several competitions of different levels. It starts with two local competitions, and if a team performs well, they move onto the state competition. However, FIRST Robotics doesn’t happen until later in the year. Zebrotics is currently focusing on teaching and learning, as well as fundraising for costs of transportation and materials needed to build robots.

“It is a great opportunity for kids who want to get involved, and they get to work with our mentors, who are engineers from Ford who are working in the industry,” West said. “Last year, we toured the Rouge Ford plant and went to the Henry Ford museum. This year, we’re going to go to the North Campus student project center where some of the graduate engineering students are building projects, and we’re going to get to meet them and see what they’re doing.”