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Cross Keys Hosts Manufacturing and Robotics Program

DeKalb County Schools hires top robotics teacher to Lead North DeKalb area students into an increasingly skills-based workforce

This year, at Brookhaven’s , students are set to learn not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but robotics as well.

The Remote Automation Management Project, or RAMP program, is a group of manufacturing, robotics, production enterprise, and automation classes now being offered to those at Cross Keys as well as seven other North DeKalb schools.

RAMP is available through a partnership between DeKalb County Schools and Moultrie Tech, and funded by the Cross Keys Foundation, a local nonprofit that organizes support and fundraising for Cross Keys High School.

DeKalb County Schools hired 23-year teaching veteran Patrick Gunter to lead the program. Gunter, an A-list robotics instructor who built one of the first solar cars in the Southeast (now housed at Georgia Tech), says that just about everything in our society is the product of robot-driven manufacturing, and hands-on training is an absolute must for young people entering the field.

“If you’re going to be in today’s industry, they want somebody who has experience, it’s good to have high test scores and an excellent GPA, but how are you going to apply it? You must be able to demonstrate that you have these skills,” Gunter said.

At Cross Keys, if it’s skills they want, it’s skills they get. During the school day, Gunter teaches four blocks of students, with topics ranging from material science to robotics and automated systems. Their work is hands-on, with students writing programs to operate robotics systems.

But their instruction doesn’t stop at the classroom. Gunter has lined up more than a dozen local and not-so-local competitions for his students; showcasing a Cross Keys solar car team and two robotics teams. Like an extra-curricular activity or sport, these kids stay after school to perfect their craft---training, creating programs, and operating machines that reflect their young genius.

But Gunter maintains that his program is not one of exclusivity. He says that any student from the eight feeder schools with the drive to learn and the dedication can and will be successful in RAMP.

“Anyone with the will can do this,” explained Gunter, who believes that Cross Keys will soon have a top notch, world-class program. “[I tell my students ] you can achieve any heights you want if you put the work in. [These students] are exemplary and our program will be exemplary….a real-world education.”

Gunter jokes that one day, his students’ success will generate interest from all over, joking that even President Obama will have to take a trip to Cross Keys to see for himself what these kids have been up to. But even with such expectations for his group, Gunter is still on teaching life skills that can be taken into any workplace - whether his students go into vast world of technology or not.

“[This program] teaches them qualities like good work ethic, respect, working well with a team, and other work related skills. It’s showing them how to be productive--and that can take them anywhere.”

Kim Gokce September 09, 2011 at 01:18 AM
Thank you, Chloey, for visiting with Mr. Gunter and his students. Brookhaven has a lot to brag about with these new programs - the instructors, the students, and the extra-curricular activities are going to be getting more and more recognition as they achieve the lofty goals they've set for themselves. The Cross Keys Foundation is shamelessly recruiting public and private support for these programs. If your readers want to mentor students in the afternoons, help with in-kind materials for the robotics or solar car teams, or just send plan old financial support, we can help! Mr. Gunter is the real deal when it comes to work ethic and applied learning. Join us in supporting his efforts at http://tinyurl.com/ckfhitech. -Kim Gokce, President and Shameless Barker, Cross Keys Foundation
Chloey Mayo September 09, 2011 at 05:35 PM
I agree, Kim! The work Mr. Gunter and his students is absolutely fantastic. You can definitely tell that Mr. Gunter is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the industry and about teaching. Thanks for the link---I am sure many of our readers would love to help!
WendyTran September 14, 2011 at 12:43 AM
Thank you so much from Cross Keys Tsa Chapter. We appreciate the time you took to come out and see for yourself the dedication and commitment that the Cross Keys students have for improving their knowledge on robotics and not just robotics but also other competitive events that we will be participating in; in the next couple of weeks & months! We will love the support from everybody that believes in us to come out and watch us put Cross Keys name up there with the higher schools, and we will not disappoint anyone that has put their time & money into this foundation. We will try our best to get Cross Keys the GOOD recognization that the school, administers, teachers, advisors, and students deserve. Thank you to Kim Gokce for believing in us and giving us great ideas to improve out Chapter. Thank you, CK TSA
Kim Gokce October 30, 2011 at 02:12 PM
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150343302793062.349441.208820358061&type=1 Endeavour Two (Girls') placed 7th prior to elimination round and won the Judges' Award. Endeavour One place 2nd prior to elimination round and lost in a semi-final match. Fantastic outing, great accomplishment after a 36 hour straight push to be ready for competition! Congratulations to CK Robotics!
Stephanie L. Arnold October 30, 2011 at 09:07 PM
This is awesome! Congratulations!

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