FRONTENAC — Frontenac High School Foundation of Technology students walked in front of a panel “Shark Tank”-style and presented a robot which is to serve as a water retrieval system on Friday.
The students were given a budget for their robotic parts and bridge building materials.

After a “how-to” lecture by teacher Eric Gudde they worked in teams to create a robot, write code to move the robot over a bridge and through a tunnel.

“I explained the ‘how-to’s’ and then told them to get busy,” Gudde said.

They also had to prepare for the “Shark Tank”-style presentation by taking their own photographs and design a presentation to prove to the panel that their team’s robot is the best.
Aside from engineering, coding and teamwork, the project served a greater purpose — to fundraise for a well in Haiti through Future Hope Haiti. The students provided data on the water issue in Haiti, budgeting expected outcome and the total during their presentation.

The panel selected the team "Waterholics" — Dylan Ensch, Reagan Hipfl and Noah Short — as the favorite demonstration.

Gudde said there is a lack of clean and accessible water in Haiti. He said it takes approximately four to five hours for women and children to retrieve accessible water — which is where he roped in the idea water retrieving robots.

“Our students have created a robotic system that could travel to a water hole and retrieve water saving the 6K (six kilometers) of walking,” he said.

Future Hope Haiti Founder Katie Salsbury, a Parsons native, was one of the panel members amongst local business leaders from the community.

Future Hope Haiti raises money through free trade to help provide various needs in Haiti.

Salsbury applauded Gudde for bringing in real-life scenarios into the project, giving the students an opportunity to learn about the world and not just learn about it, but help do something about it.

“This is absolutely amazing,” Salsbury said. “Kids get an opportunity to learn about other parts of the world and I think Mr. Gudde did a great job at giving this kids an opportunity to see a need, not only to just see it, but to do something about it.”

Overall the students raised $1,555 through various fundraising and event planning efforts, then presented a check to Salsbury after the presentations. The money raised will go towards a new well in Haiti.

“This [robots] might be practice, but this could be real,” Gudde said.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.