As a melting pot for students in the district, the Cedar Ridge High School Robotics team includes students from all backgrounds.
Every year, the team builds a robot for a district competition sponsored by FIRST Robotics in Little Rock.
“When you walk into [the competition in] Little Rock, our team is unique,” said teacher Judy Butler. “I’ve been a card-carrying member of the nerd herd all my life. I love being a nerd, but this thing filled a niche at our school that we really needed.”
“We have agri boys. We have pretty girls. We have the athletes. We have a lot of special-education kids. They work elbow to elbow together. It was such a wonderful dynamic from the first year on. Our team is different. We have more diversity. We didn’t realize it until we got down to the competition.”
When students were asked what they liked best about the robotics team, Butler says their responses were unanimous. “They all said, ‘We got to learn about our peers,’” she said. “‘We would have never gotten to hang out with them.’ That trend has continued. They’ve made sure that it has kept going. When you go down to Little Rock, there are a lot of ‘nerds,’ and I say that lovingly because I am one. You don’t see teams like ours.”