Chelsea Robotics introduces Wrap-A-Palooza

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CHS students talk about their robot. photo courtesy of Chelsea Robotics

Chelsea Robotics is starting a cool fundraiser that’s perfect for the season. 

It’s called Wrap-A-Palooza and it's happening from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, and then on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 11, again from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

To learn more about the event, the Sun Times News reached out to Chelsea Robotics and connected with Jay Zatkovich, a parent and chair of the Chelsea Robotics fundraising subcommittee, and two students.

Zatkovich said “this is the first of what we hope will become an annual event and tradition for Chelsea Robotics. A sort of ‘Home Coming’ where we welcome back anyone who has been involved in robotics to participate in this outreach event and help build a festive fun environment for the community to enjoy.”

Peyton Kifer, a student with the robotics program, said, “I think it’s going to be a great way to spread some holiday cheer and show everyone a different side of our robotics program. I encourage everyone who’s available to come to this event because we have been working really hard to pull this off and we hope to see you all there”

In explaining how the idea for this fundraiser came about, Zatkovich said the robotics program has grown significantly in the last several years. He said through the efforts of many donors, sponsors, advocates, and members of the community as well as the 2019 Chelsea School District Bond, they have a “World Class Robotics Center where students from all of our Chelsea School District K-12 teams meet and collaborate for their respective competitions.”

“We wanted to say thanks to the community by adding to the festivities around the holidays and making things a bit easier for people,” Zatkovich said. “The Wrap-A-Palooza was conceptualized as a way for our young engineers to engage with people in the town they live in and show appreciation to the community for their support.”

He said, “The young mentors have really taken to the idea, and I hope the festive environment they will create will be enjoyed by all.”

The three-day fundraiser will see the opening of the Chelsea Robotics Center to the public where there will be gift-wrapping and festivities (think fun decorations, hot cocoa while it lasts, and associated merriment) to the public.

There is no cost for the wrapping, but donations to the Chelsea Robotics Boosters are appreciated.

Zatkovich said the non-profit CRB (Chelsea Robotic Boosters, a 501-C3) is the support arm of the K-12 Robotics Program in Chelsea, which aims to engage the community, promote STEM programs such as FIRST Robotics, fundraise and provide support to the Young Engineers and Mentors as they continue to build a world-class Robotics Program.

For some background about the program, Zatkovich said Chelsea Robotic is in its 14th year and “in that time has established itself on the world map - being one of only six teams to win the Industrial Design award sponsored by General Motors at last year's world competition in Houston, Texas.

“To put that in perspective, there were 3,225 teams from 26 countries who were registered in the FRC "Rapid React” competition in 2022,” he said. “On a local level, we recently expanded the program to encompass all age levels, and have over 120 young engineers who participate in the program which has opportunities starting from kindergarten to 12th grade.”

Zatkovich said he graduated from CHS in 1999 and this program didn't exist.

“Through my son's participation, I have seen how much it has grown and impacted kids in the community, providing a very positive experience,” he said. “I hope people can learn more about what Chelsea Robotics is, and has to offer during the event.”

The event will be at the 400 Building, at 500 Washington Street in Chelsea.

People should bring in their gifts during the set times you can see on Chelseamich.com (https://chelseamich.com/events/hth-wrap-a-poolza/ ), park their car in front of the robotics center, and come into the 400 building where a greeter will help them with their gifts and have them wrapped.

"We hope this event becomes a staple in our community to help wrap up the end of the year," said Chelsea robotics student Emily Gagnon.

“We encourage visitors to explore the robotics center while they wait and participate in the holiday festivities,” Zatkovich said.

To learn more about Chelsea Robotics and its various programs go to https://www.chelsearobotics.org/.

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