ShareThis Page

Clairton students head to prom, then national robotics event

Michael DiVittorio
| Thursday, May 16, 2013, 3:51 a.m.

Two robotics teams will represent Clairton High School at the National BotsIQ competition this weekend, and all of their expenses have been paid thanks to several donors.

Team Bazinga and Team Mega Nuke will board a bus bound for Indianapolis Friday night after prom, then compete Saturday and Sunday.

The team raised nearly $2,000 of the $5,000 needed for transportation, entrance fees, meals and other costs.

Donations poured in after the Clairton teams' accomplishments were publicized in The Daily News and other media outlets and letters from the school district.

“It just became almost a grass-roots effort,” district spokesperson Alexis Trubiani said.

The Clairton teams earned spots at the nationals with 47 other schools by taking home four awards at the Regional BotsIQ competition at California University of Pennsylvania last month.

Team Bazinga won all six of its matches to earn first place for competition dominance, and was named Grand Champion for its overall performance, its documentation, team interviews and other factors.

Eliza Sopko captains the team, which includes co-captain Bianca Pulliam and driver Zack Loera.

Team Mega Nuke won for its sportsmanship and coolest robot design. Garrett Santoline is captain and driver with Amanda Gillespie.

“The students can't believe it,” Trubiani said. “We're just in shock and awe.”

Through fundraising and donations, Clairton's robotics program now has more than $30,000. That is enough not only to cover the trip's expenses, but to fund the program for next school year and possibly expand it to the middle school.

“This is nice to know that this program has longevity,” Trubiani said. “It's not just good for the robotics team. This is wonderful for the entire district.

“It is with great humility and gratitude that the Clairton robotics team and entire district would like to thank our generous supporters throughout the state and nation. Please know that you are appreciated and that you have succeeded in making a difference in the lives of our students,” she said.

Aerotech Inc. vice president for sales and marketing Stephen Botos sent a $2,000 check and encouraging words.

Trubiani said the students were invited to tour the company's O'Hara factory to learn about careers in robotics and automation.

Another donor, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, invited teams to see how robots are used in medicine.

Neya Systems LLC sent a check, and city council approved a $200 donation at its meeting on Tuesday night.

Trubiani said she'll have live updates from the tournament on the district's Facebook and Twitter pages, and more information will be available on the district's website, or by emailing

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.