Wrens Middle School Beta Club builds national winning robotic drink server

National Junior Beta Club winners from Wrens build soda pouring robot.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A great group of middle school students out of Wrens, Georgia is getting some national attention.  They took a very cool invention all the way to the top and now, they are back home in Jefferson County to tell us about it.  The students are National Junior Beta Club Winners. It’s the first time they took home the prize in a newly created robotics competition for Beta Club.

Pop open a cold can of Coke, pour it into a cup, and never lift a finger.

It’s a new invention from students who are in middle school in Jefferson County.

This robot does it all.  It even crushes cans.

Evan Gibbons, a rising Freshman Robotics Team member talked about his work with the robot.

“I was one of the back-ups to help with the computer. I helped connect the wires,” he shared.

A small group of students had a hand in creating the robot. They call it Colts Coke Can Crusher or C-4 for short.

“First you hit the code and it sends it to the Arduino and it sends it to the relays,” described Bryar Stewart, who is also on the Robotics Team.  “And once the relays get it, it turns it into power where our actuary can use it and does what it’s supposed to do.”

The robot took home first place at the state level and again at the National Junior Beta competition.

“We were the only club that built a robot from scratch that had a function,” said Michelle Stewart, Beta Club Sponsor and Wrens Middle School Counselor.

The project received a lot of support from Gil Rowland who works for a local mining company and loves to see kids succeed in STEM.

“The boys decided, OK if we can do this then we can pour a Coke can. If we can pour a Coke can then we can crush a Coke can. Then they wanted to take the Coke can and throw it into the trash can. Then we said no wait a minute we have to stop somewhere,” said Gil Rowland, who works for KaMin Performance Minerals.

But they didn’t stop there. The students also made a tower out of drinking straws so strong it can hold a tennis ball.

“We had the great idea of sticking straws inside of each other until there was a long strand and then we would bundle them up together and stand them up in threes,” said rising Freshman Makayla Anderson, who worked on the Beta Club’s Tower of Power Team as its captain.

That group had 20 minutes to construct the tallest tower using 200 straws and a roll of masking tape.  It had to hold the tennis ball for 30 seconds, according to the team’s sponsor, Michelle Stewart.  She added no other team tower came close to the 6ft height that students from Wrens built, which gained them first place on the state level.

Ka’Niya Lewis participated in the speech competition and placed 4th.

Beta Club gives these students a bright future and they are just scratching the surface.

“I think it will be good for college and job interviews,” Gibbons said.

The students attended the state competition in Macon back in November and the National Beta Convention was about two weeks ago in Orlando at Disney. And the group had to raise at least $15,000, but it exceeded that goal through sponsorship dollars and other donations.

The students told NewsChannel 6 they plan to compete next year.

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