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$68K donation to fund Newton schools competitive robotics programs
Newton schools robotics
Signature sponsor Facebook provided additional funds in April to help ensure NCSS students can stay engaged with robotics even with the uncertainty COVID-19 has caused. - photo by Courtesy of the Newton County School System

A well-known company has given a $68,000 financial boost to the VEX and VEX IQ competitive robotics programs within the Newton County School System.

Facebook, which is the programs’ signature sponsor, began supporting the district-wide robotics initiative in the fall of 2019 and provided additional funds in April to help ensure students can stay engaged with robotics even with the uncertainty COVID-19 has caused.

“We are grateful to have partners like Facebook in our community,” said Newton County Schools System Superintendent, Samantha Fuhrey. “Their generosity towards our robotics programs benefits students across all grade levels and we are thrilled to be able to continue this partnership.”

The Newton County School System has more than 50 VEX and VEXIQ robotics teams, representing nearly every elementary, middle, and high school in the county. 

NCSS has been unable to host in-person robotics events in which students would typically participate in multiple competitions this school year.

Facebook’s support will help the school system ensure students have the tools necessary to compete virtually should the virus continue to impact the competitions and events next school year.

The district’s involvement with VEX connects students with the world’s largest and fastest-growing competitive robotics programs around the world. 

More than 24,000 VEX teams from more than 60 countries are involved in the program.

CTAE and Workforce Innovation Director Tim Schmitt said, “Facebook’s most recent contribution will ensure our teams have what they need to compete in the 2021-2022 robotics season. 

“Those funds will not only cover regular costs such as team season registrations, new game elements, and competition fees, but will also pay for digital equipment like laptops and webcams needed for virtual-remote competitions that have developed as a result of the pandemic,” Schmitt said.

The ability to continue building momentum in the area of STEM education is very important to Newton County Schools. 

Competitive robotics provides a hook for students to engage in STEM areas and Facebook’s support plays an important role in the school system’s ability to provide that opportunity.

Katie Comer, community development regional manager for Facebook, said, "Newton County Schools has raised the bar when it comes to STEM investment."

"It's our honor to support that work to help ensure that students have access to the tools and resources they need to continue sparking their creativity and imagination through the VEX and VEX IQ robotics programs. I'm excited by what the future holds for these students."

Facebook has been part of the greater Newton County community since breaking ground on its data center in northeast Newton in 2018.