Let’s Go Robotic 

Posted: 5:00 am Monday, August 27th, 2018

By Ann Kelly


This was a happy coincidence kind of Ann-Venture. I was headed down to Hyde Park for brunch Sunday and stopped in at the Publix on Gandy. When I was leaving I ran into a great bunch of students from Plant High School in South Tampa that are trying to raise enough money to get to special event for Team 7203 KNO3 – that’s what they call their team from Plant High School Robotics. Thanks to Coach Sue Brown for a little background on the team; “Our name, KNO3, stands for “potassium nitrate” a chemical compound found in fertilizers, tree stump removal, rocket propellants and fireworks. KNO3 was established in fall of 2013.  Our goal was to introduce STEM opportunities in our high school and provide a sustainable platform for students to learn lifelong skills of self-confidence, communications, and leadership.  Engaging students in a competitive yet fun and exciting program will hopefully encourage students to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math. Our team consists of 9 members & 2 coaches:.  We work out of a garage after school and on weekends. We have earned 19 awards in the past 4 years at the local, state, regional and world levels and attended the World Championships in Houston, Tx for the past 2 years taking a 2nd place win in 2017.


World Championship Team in Houston, 2017

The team is looking for company’s or individual donations (and yes, I put some cash in their donation box) to help them reach their goal. It all begins with the local competitions and moves on to state, regional and world competitions. It’s called “FIRST” which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” Students design and build their own robots which involves the actual design, programming the software, CAD design development and the application of real-world math and science concepts. And that’s just the start. Sue also will be the first to tell you that “FIRST” is More Than Robots.  FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” Teams not only get hands on experience building and designing a robot to complete in Local, State, Regional and World Competitions, but also learn real life experiences to broaden their leadership skills.


It’s pretty incredible to realize just how much work this all takes outside the regular school day – nights, weekends – and there’s the cost of $3,000-$4,000 to build and compete. The students raise their own funds so why not lend them a helping hand and make this Ann-Venture a reality?  You can contact Sue Brown directly @KNO3robotics@verizon.net and or send a donation to South Tampa Robotics Foundation, 3207 West Harbor View Avenue, Tampa, Fl 33611. There’s also more information on their website.

Thanks to Plant High School and Coach Sue brown for the photos. Good luck and may the best ‘bot win!