Grantmaking from the WYCF Sublette Local Board

From our Fall 2019 Newsletter. See the full newsletter (PDF) here.

Destiny joined the Big Piney High School Robotics program when she was a freshman. She worked one-on-one with a professional engineer as her mentor – they designed, wired, and built robots together.  The experience was life changing and now Destiny is pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. 

“We take anyone and everyone,” says Steve Nelson, a retired teacher at Big Piney High School. Often his students tell him they don’t know anything about robotics. He replies with, “I didn’t either when we started.” 

Playing with Robots 

It all started in 2006 when Steve took his students on a class trip to see an inventor. They saw him building and “playing” with robots and were excited.  The students thought it was fun.  

“Can we do that? Play with robots?” the kids asked Steve. About a year later, the Big Piney High School Robotics program became an afterschool club, and the students started competing in robotics matches.  

While robotics may be new to you, students across the country are using their brains, teamwork and imagination to outwit their opponents. 

During the school year the Big Piney team builds a robot with very specific rules and requirements. They take their robot to competitions where the robot must perform specific tasks in a three-on-three match. The teams move through the brackets, in fun and sometimes intense competition.  

 The team didn’t make it to the world championships this past year, but the impact of the competition and the pride of the team is lasting.  

“They built a robot they were proud of,” says Steve. “and they learned a lot building it, which was a lot of fun.” 

For some students, like Destiny, the experience is more than just fun, it’s life changing.  

“The robotics team gave me enough confidence to apply to college to pursue my degree,” says Destiny. “The team was the best thing I’ve joined and have been a part of in my life thus far.” 


Students travel to regional matches each year. In the past, the team has even qualified for the world championships in Houston. The team used a grant they received from WYCF to cover registration costs of their regional competition in Denver this past year. Because of your generosity, over 12 students were able to compete.