Local robotics team looking for more donations

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PORT BYRON, Illinois — A group of nine Riverdale High School students are asking for monetary donations so they can buy and donate new LEGO kits to an Iowa Children’s hospital.

The Robotics Rams pose in front of last years total of 112 LEGO sets ready to be donated to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

The Robotic Rams are hosting their third annual fundraiser this week.

The school’s Technology Director, Jason Dennhardt, said the hospital they donate to was not chosen at random.

“In 2016 a teacher from Riverdale, Mark Lofgren, his son was diagnosed with cancer,” Dennhardt said. “(His son) was receiving treatments at the University of Iowa Stead Family Hospital and we came up with the idea.”

Dennhardt said the group chose to donate LEGO sets for two main reasons: First, it is the most wanted toy under the website’s “Wish List,” and secondly, because LEGOs are the first step to having an interest in STEM and Robotics.

“Who doesn’t love to build Legos,” Dennhardt asked.

The public is invited to donate directly at Riverdale High School or at donations jars at this upcoming weekend’s FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics League Competition.

“Our students are following the vision of FIRST and are trying to help younger children dream of one day becoming science and technology leaders too,” Dennhardt said. “Even if it just starts with a simple Lego set.”

The Robotic Rams started in 2011. This year’s competition will be at Riverdale High School in Port Byron on Saturday, January 19th. The robots will start competing at around 9:30 am and will conclude around noon.


In 2018, the Robotics Rams donated more than 100 LEGO sets to pediatric patients at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.


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