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Engineering students showcase projects at Suncoast Polytechnical High School

ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 3:32 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A team of sharp students are putting their heads together, taking their first steps into mastering technology.

What is it teachers always say? It’s not rocket science?

Well, in one classroom at Suncoast Polytechnical High School, it’s pretty close.

The school has a robotics course lead by Dr. Larry Brackney, a teacher who was an engineer for 30 years. Nowadays, he’s teaching a small team of students, leading them through their first steps into mastering technology.

Students like Rafael Bravo, who has been working on a robotic arm he made from scratch.

“I’ll be honest I was really ambitious, and I really wanted to do something big,” he said as the arm twitched and whirred on a swivel.

He’s been working on the arm for two years, using spare parts from other machines and 3D printer to build.

“The whole goal of this project was to have it controlled with my own arm and mimic my own movements,” Bravo explained.

It’s a tough project full of ups and down, but worth it for Bravo in the end.

“I’ve had headaches,” Bravo said. “I wanted to bang my head against the wall multiple times with this project, but at the end of the day it’s just something I love to do and, y’know, I want to pursue engineering in the future. So, this is a great step toward that future I want.”

Brackney is proud of the work he sees every day in his classroom. He took this job because he wants to see those students thrive after they graduate.

“I just y’know wanted to train my replacements, Brackney said. “So, it’s an opportunity to give back and help the next generation of engineers get off on a good start.”

Andres Zeitler is getting off to a good start, and a fast one at that. He showed ABC7 an electric bike he constructed for his senior project.

Asked what inspired the project, he said it’s all about one upping his old man.

“Well, my dad had an electric bike,” Zeitler said. “It was a SONDORS, and I just wanted to build something that was faster than his.”

He might have accomplished just that. Clipping on his helmet, Zeitler took his electric bike for a joyride around the Polytechnical parking lot showing us how quick he can zip through the streets.

Zeitler said it’s beyond belief he and his classmates have the freedom to learn and create like this.

The projects at school have inspired him to pursue a career working as an electrical engineer for an aerospace company, perhaps NASA or SpaceX.

“That’s what I want the most, is to work for a company like that that’s kind of looking forward into the future,” Zeitler said.

A bright future where the rest of us will be along for the ride.

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