CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The excitement and energy at the Academy for Technology and Academics in Conway could be felt Monday morning as the 10-member robotics team, Volt, brought back their win from the FIRST Robotics competition in Myrtle Beach. The team now has the daunting task of raising $15,000 to compete at the international competition in St. Louis on April 24th.
Meri Smith, who is the team's lead mentor, said, "I'm so overwhelmed with the thought of how much we need to raise before April, and I think it can be done. We've got the people here in Horry County to help support these kids. "
The total cost to compete in St. Louis was $20,000 but Horry County Schools already donated $5,000 for the team's entry fee, which was due this week.
Members of the 10-student team will be going around to various companies in the county to try and find sponsors willing to donate.
Caleb Seckman and Seth Archibald, who are members of Volt, admit if they do not get to go because of a lack of funds, it will be disappointing.
For four to six weeks, Seckman, Archibald and their other teammates worked outside of the classroom to make and operate the robot. Archibald said the team was in 60th place going into this past weekend's tournament, so winning was a real upset.
Smith said winning the competition shows what Horry County has to offer "is not just tourism, we've got the best and the brightest in the state and we can do the technological stuff."
The team will be shipping their robot to St. Louis on Thursday in hopes of raising enough money to compete in the meantime.
"Hopefully we'll get people to help out and get us a corporate sponsorship because all of it is a tax write off," encourages Smith.
Those interested parties looking to make a donation to the ATA Robotic's Volt team can contact the school's bookkeeper at 843-488-6600.