Both Sean Pakros of Elkton and Elias Malak of Roseburg have big plans for their future. Both have been interested in robotics since they were young and both hope to use that passion for a better future.

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review. She can be reached at or 541-957-4218.

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(2) comments

Scott Mendelson

This is terrific! I applaud these young men for their skill, intelligence and perseverance. What troubles me, however, is the fact that they likely had to do it on their own. There are no courses in computer science in our schools, at least not at Roseburg High School. My son, with a BS degree in Biochemistry and soon to earn his additional BS in Computer Science at OSU, had to teach himself computer language and programing entirely on his own. He has done so ever since elementary school. There was nothing available at Fremont or RHS. Six years ago, when my son was a senior at RHS, I complained to the principle about the fact that students in Roseburg were being deprived of education in one of the most important facets of modern technology. It was being utterly ignored. I found it disgraceful and told her so. Today, I looked at the classes offered by RHS on their website and, still, no courses in computer science are being offered. This is an ongoing disgrace.


Calling it disgraceful seems a little harsh, but it is disappointing for sure. I appreciate you bringing attention to this, and I will make it a point to do what I can to advocate for more computer science related learning/teaching. At least at JoLane, they have been offering Robotics as one of the actual electives for 7th and 8th grade, so they actually have an assigned teacher and classroom to work in. My boys are in 9th grade now, and I was surprised that RHS doesn't even have that. They do have a really good robotics club and have been able to have up to 4 teams of approx. 6 students each. I guess I haven't really minded my son doing this on his own because there is so much good content on the internet. If I'm being honest, he has learned more about building computers, programming, engineering and robotics from watching YouTube than he could have ever gleaned from any class up to this point. Sad, but true. Kids can pick up so much on their own through hands on learning with various devices. As a result, I think that all of that content creates such a wide range of interests and abilities that it would be a challenge to decide exactly what to teach. There are so many specific applications. I'm also going to guess that part of the issue is that a teaching salary cannot compete with the wages and benefits of a real-world tech job. Regardless, I agree that we need that computer coding, programming, and system engineering being taught alongside the core/college prep and CTE classes.

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