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Surviving against long odds, robotics team celebrates 10th anniversary

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Mentors Alan LohKamp and Rebecca LohKamp stand with 2013 honorees: [Back row] Thomas Hubel (Most Growth Award), Chase Foreman (Communications Award) , Duncan Moats (Pinch Hitter Award), Lewis Hicks (Most Accomplished Freshman Award), Hadrian Carlson (Perseverance Award); and [Front row] team members Ian Mettlestaedt, Jared Roper, Matt Robinett.FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1432, a/k/a “Mahr’s Metal Beavers”, celebrated their tenth anniversary on April 20 – even though the future of this after-school club seemed very dim when it was removed from the sponsoring school, Franklin High, a couple of years ago, for which there has never been a satisfactory explanation.

Rebecca LohKamp, one of the team’s founding mentors, began the Anniversary ceremony, which was being held at the Knights of Pythias Lodge, 32 blocks east of their former home – the high school which many of their members still attend.

“We have a wonderful program that helps young people learn that they can be more than they ever thought that they could be,” LohKamp said. “And, these young people grow to be much more than others thought that they could become. They learn skills like problem-solving, teamwork, and workforce skills like machining and computer programming.”

The team still exists thanks to many adult mentors, and the support of the Knights of Pythias lodge, which turned over their basement to the team, she added.

“And, we also owe a great debt to the Southeast Portland Rotary Club,” LohKamp remarked. “Not only have they been kind enough to act as our fiscal agent, so we can continue to receive grants – they have also given us their own community grants this year and last, to help us continue this program – which costs about $20,000 a year to operate.”

To find out how your teen can join this great club – or, you can provide needed support – go online to their website: HYPERLINK "team1432.org/" www.team1432.org/.