Supportive community raises money, pushes young students beyond small town they live in

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ALTAMONT, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – A group of local students is receiving major recognition, after building a high-tech robot they initially could not afford. 

Good 4 Utah’s Ali Monsen went to Duchesne County, Wednesday, to learn how the whole community is helping push the kids beyond their small town. 

Despite its small population of about 250, the community of Altamont is making a big impact on a team of aspiring robotics professionals.  Over the past couple months, The Nutty Robots team built and programmed four different contraptions. 

“It was confusing, and it was challenging because some pieces wouldn’t work in some places,” said Braxton Lawton, Team Leader of the group. 

The process has not been easy.   Presentations Coach Deb Nielson says the community’s oil-based economy took a major hit last year and that everyone in town felt the effects. 

“There was not enough money in the budget at the high school to run the robotics club,” Nielson said. 

Nielson says the program teaches too many vital skills that the kids can not afford to miss out on, so she and her husband decided to run an extracurricular club themselves. 

The kids are organized into two teams based on age.  They also compete in competitions, where they are judged in a variety of areas, including robot presentation, programming, and driving skills. 

Team members have definitely faced hurdles along the way. 

“[One time with] 72 hours before one of our competitions… the robot pretty much destroyed itself,” said Sam Wilcox, a 5th grade team member. 

Since then, the kids have won statewide competitions and qualified for the world championships.  Community members are now pitching in to help them afford to go.

“Everyone’s struggling, but they have helped us so much,” Nielson said. 

With just $1,000  left to raise and a town full of support, the kids say they are ready to take their robot to the next level. 

The Nutty Robots plan on venturing out of their hometown and into Louisville, Kentucky for the global competition this April; that is, if they can raise enough money for the trip.  For people who want to contribute, the team has a fund set up at Mountain American Credit Union under the name, ‘The Nutty Robots.’

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