Plucky robotics club raises both funds and awareness at dinner

See how Portland’s oldest FIRST Robotics club, now housed in Lents, keep up their spirits – and serve dinner to raise money needed for this year’s competitions …

Oregon State University student, and “Metal Beavers” mentor, Cameron Frisby stirs sauce in the kitchen for the robotics club’s benefit dinner.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After seven years of meeting in Franklin High School otherwise-disused auto shop, Portland’s original high school robotics club, FIRST Robotic Competition (FRC) Team 1432, the “Metal Beavers”, was ushered off the premises for reasons still unclear in 2010.

But, with space provided by the Ivanhoe Lodge of Knights of Pythias in the Lents neighborhood, and with the Southeast Portland Rotary Club becoming their fiscal sponsor, the team didn’t disband. They’re still there – building robots, changing lives, and competing.

FRC Team 1432 mentor Rebecca LohKamp, invites guests to sample her three varieties of lasagna.

Guests serve themselves salad and a selection of vegetarian, gluten-free, and traditional lasagna.

“It remains a challenge for our club to raise enough money to be able to buy the parts needed – and especially, to pay for the competition registration and entry fees,” said longtime team mentor Rebecca LohKamp.

At their latest fundraising event, held on December 19 in the Reed neighborhood, folks came from miles around to enjoy a three-course dinner, featuring three varieties LohKamp’s lasagna.

“Metal Beavers” boosters Jane Kenney-Norberg, and editor Eric Norberg of THE BEE newspaper, tuck into a satisfying lasagna dinner.

Attendees learn about the mission and purpose of FRC Team 1432 – the “Metal Beavers”.

Friends and supporters sat at large tables, meeting members of this year’s Metal Beavers team personally, while they enjoyed a deliciously satisfying meal and learned more about the team’s mission.

After dessert, guests heard a brief presentation about FRC Team 1432. Several student members told how participating has helped them advance their education, as they learn to work together as a team.

FRC Team 1432 “Metal Beavers” Team Captain Ian Mittlesteadt shows the robot used in last year’s season of competition.

Team members Alex, Ian Mittlesteadt, and Austin Vanderwal talk about their experience being part of the “Metal Beavers” team.

To cap off the evening, several colorful and unique gift baskets were auctioned off to help raise money for their club.

“Because we’re not affiliated with a school or large organization,” LohKamp said, “we rely on support from our community. A donation of even a few dollars really helps these students realize their dreams and ambitions.”

You can help by donating online; see their website: CLICK HERE.

“Metal Beavers” team members Patrick LohKamp and Emily Braveman auction off gift baskets.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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