‘Would be amazing’: Taft High School robotics team raising funds for Texas competition

CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s hard enough to build a robot.

But when it comes to extracurriculars like high school robots, fundraising can be a whole other challenge. CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas takes us inside the race to collect cash for one North Side team.

“Monkey” is the pride and joy of the Taft High School robotics team.

“We’re team 8122 Taft Robotic Eagles,” said sophomore Olivia Kapusniak.

The Robotic Eagles built Monkey to scoop up balls and then shoot them through hoops like this in robotics skills competitions.

“We’ve all worked so hard and we’ve grown together as a team,” said junior Yehansa Dissanayake.

“It’s absolutely huge that we’ve managed to win two competitions so far,” said Kapusniak.

And with those two regional wins, the team qualified for another major competition with teams from across the country and beyond.

“This competition means so much for all of us, I think,” added sophomore Madison Orduno.

“It’d mean the world to me,” said junior Angel Perez.

But there’s one thing standing in their way. They can’t quite scoop up the funds to get the team to Texas for next week’s competition.

The team launched an online fundraiser but robotics teacher Tony Schmidt says they’re far below their goal.

“They may not be able to do this again. It would be heartbreaking if the only reason we couldn’t go is money,” said robotics teacher Tony Schmidt.

As Schmidt and his students have learned – fundraising for a program like robotics is no easy task. It can be difficult to even explain the program to potential donors and self-funding is not an option.

“I know its been hard for some of us, especially with my family, to get the money to do events like this,” Kapusniak said.

Last week, CBS 2 reported that Bloom Trail High Schools’ team was also struggling to pay for a major competition.

But now?

“We actually met and surpassed our donation goal. I’m super grateful. It couldn’t be possible without the help of you guys and CBS.” said Bloom Trail High School student Danna Lara.

The Robotic Eagles are hoping the exposure will help them too.

“To be able to make it to Texas to do what we love what would be amazing,” Kapusniak said.

The team is hoping to raise $ 15,000 to $ 20,000 to get everyone to Texas, including Monkey, who will need to be shipped there for next week’s competition.

Click here if you’d like to donate the fundraiser link.

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