By Eric Erickson

Robotics competition

While 2023 was a resurgent year for the Como Robotics team, 2024 has seen the doubling of a couple of key numbers: participants and competitions.

There are 24 active team members this year. The team built a robot more efficiently and skillfully this season while also increasing marketing and raising funds to support the program goals to compete in tournaments.

It’s been a challenge since traditional sponsors dropped financial support. But the determination of the members of “Como BEASTBot 2855” resulted in traveling to the Northern Lights Regional competition in Duluth. Out of 55 teams there, BEASTBot won several matches and placed 16th overall—a successful new adventure.

Como’s only tournament last year was the 10,000 Lakes Regional at the University of Minnesota. They will return to compete in it on April 3 to 5.

Experiential learning in D.C.

Twenty-nine seniors studying AP Government and AP Economics recently spent a week in Washington, D.C., as part of the national Close Up program.

Como student highlights included study visits to national monuments and memorials including Jefferson, FDR, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lincoln, World War II, Vietnam and Korea. There were also study visits to museums of the Smithsonian, Arlington National Cemetery and different Washington, D.C., neighborhoods.

Como students visited Capitol Hill on March 6 for an unforgettable day, observing the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee discuss federal initiatives on sustainability and recycling. A swing by the office of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, resulted in a photo op with the popular 2020 presidential candidate.

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., hosted the Como students outside her office for an engaging 20-minute meeting discussing student-generated questions. Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, also greeted the group and agreed to taking a selfie with the Como contingent.

From those highlights all occurring in the Senate’s Hart Office Building, the group was escorted into the U.S. Capitol by Amy Klobuchar’s staff for a 20-minute meeting with Minnesota’s senior senator.

Klobuchar offered insights into legislation she’s currently sponsoring, discussed the political landscape that Congress is navigating and answered student questions.

After a lecture in the Supreme Court Chamber, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., provided students information about the budget and her views on Israel and Gaza. Afterwards, the students witnessed the House of Representatives vote on six bills to continue funding the federal government. 

Eric Erickson is a social studies teacher at Como Park Senior High School and a regular freelance contributor to the Bugle.

Photo cutline: Como AP Government students with Sen. Amy Klobuchar after their meeting in the U.S. Capitol. Photo courtesy of Sen. Klobuchar’s office.

Leave a Reply