2022 CTE Month Feature 2: Programming And Software Development, Advanced Manufacturing And Engineering

Editor’s Note: February is Career and Technical Education Month, a public awareness campaign to celebrate the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country. To help Sulphur Springs High School celebrate CTE Month 2022, KSST has compiled short videos featuring a few of the CTE programs offered at SSHS. At least one will be featured for each week of CTE Month.


Students interested in computer science and robotics courses can take Matt Wilder’s Programming and Software Development and Manufacturing and Engineering classes. Students on the latter track at Sulphur Springs High School typically take principles of applied engineering, which flows into Robotics I and II.

Stanley Alba and Saul Mireles, students in Programming And Software Development, and Advanced Manufacturing And Engineering programs

Students enrolled in the manufacturing and engineering classes work on projects their senior year, and have an opportunity to apply for an internship, which allows students to gain hands-on experience in the work force. Wilder is working with Joe Wallace at Saputo to help facilitate opportunities for internships.

SSHS students Stanley Alba and Saul Mireles for the last few months have been working on special projects and helping other students involved in robotics classes and competitions by doing some of the prep work such as cutting for them. Last month, the students were readying to apply for an internship.

They’ve been working on their resumes and sending out emails with the needed communication to the appropriate person to schedule an interview with a goal of potentially being selected for an internship. While applying and interviewing for a new job can be a little scary, the students see it as an opportunity for a positive experience doing something new that could potentially benefit them as they prepare for their future.

One project they’ve been asked to take on is reprogramming of Andy the Ambulance, a motorize miniature “robot” ambulance which Hopkins County EMS in past years used to help teach young children safety advocacy topics. The EMS service has asked them to check it out to see if it can be updated for future use. So far, Alba and Mireles have torn parts of it down, pulled some wires out to see how it works and once they’re finished will put it back together again. They’ll have to check the wheel and motor system which allows Andy to flash it’s lights, emulating a real ambulance responding to a call. They’ve tested Andy’s voice, modulating it up and down, seeing how the robotic ambulance sounds with different tones, including a deep voice.

Another project has involved construction and use of a robotic arm in automation. Their task has been to design, design and program the robotic arm to “make a grilled cheese sandwich.” A potentially practical use for say a person with limited mobility or in an automated kitchen at a fast food restaurant. While the class doesn’t at this time have all the hardware needed, no George Foreman-type grill to cook the sandwich in, then flip it out of, the students are using a scanner/copier to simulating the process while they work through programming process.

While still in progress, the students have modulated a large portion of the engineering process: look at and set up a problem, look at the hardware and coding side of things, and making adjustments. The students are making good progress, Wilder noted.

Instructor Matt Wilder with Andy the Ambulance, which his students are working to update for Hopkins County EMS

Mireles explained programming the automated robotic arm to make a grilled cheese sandwich takes pin point precision. For instance, if the bread isn’t placed exactly on the designated spot, the spatula may not be able to pick it up or if it does pick it up may drop it because the measurement programmed in will be off. The equipment and supplies must be in line up precisely. Even a fraction or 1-2 centimeters can make a big difference in whether the sandwich can be made or even put together, much less grilled. A part that’s too loose or too tight similarly can negatively impact the success of the project as well, Alba noted. Any movement in equipment or ingredients used that are not attached to the robotic arm must be steady or result in an error which requires additional programming to correct.

But, Mireles and Alba enjoy the challenge, which they report is balanced – neither too easy and nor too difficult. The only down side, the students said, is that “more people need to sign up.” They are the only students currently in the class.

Students in these classes can also potentially work toward an industry based certification involving operation of the the FANUC Robotic Arm, according to CTE Director Jenny Arledge. Mireles and Alba are slated this month to begin studying in class to potentially work toward and meet requirements for the certification, which they can then use when they graduate to apply toward employment.


Be sure to stay tuned to KSST Radio 1230 and Suddenlink Channel 18, check out www.KSSTradio.com,the KSST Radio 1230 AM YouTube Channel and other KSST social media accounts to ensure you don’t miss these 2022 CTE features. Just watch for the “2022 CTE” heading throughout the month.

If you missed the features on the kickoff and pharmacy program feature, be sure to click the links below to catch up:

Kick Off Event: Sulphur Springs High School Kicks Off CTE Month 2022 With Mayoral Proclamation

2022 CTE Month Feature 1: Pharmacy Technician Certification Program

Author: Faith Huffman

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