Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Tauranga charity brings robot to school

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A Tauranga charity is fundraising to get special projects into schools in an effort to help make up for what they cannot fund themselves.

First on Donor's Choice chief executive Ken Knott's wish list was a robot, which was let loose in a Merivale classroom yesterday.

To fund the robot, Mr Knott and his friends held garage sales.

Merivale School student Tuara Heke, 11, said he thought the robot was "pretty cool".

"It's weird too, and it has dance moves," he said.

Principal Jan Tinetti said the school requested a robot after working with House of Science on robotics.

"We'd been trying to get robotics for a while. We wouldn't have this otherwise," she said.

Teachers could apply to Donor's Choice for funding for a particular project, from robotics to a class garden, and the charity would try to raise enough funds to get it in the class.

"I got the idea from an American site. I thought, what a fantastic idea, why wouldn't it work here? From talking to teachers, there is definitely a need here to do it," Mr Knott said.

"We're just trying to get more funds for the projects. We just have to put the word out."

The trust was created earlier this year by Mr Knott, and friend Bernie Hanvey.

"He encouraged me through it, and he has the business skills and drives me. Another mate we mountain bike with is the accountant," he said.

Mr Knott wanted to create opportunities for students to engage more effectively in learning through the projects.

He hoped the charity would eventually go national.

"My goal is to raise enough funds for 1000 teacher and student projects."

Mr Knott's next project was to fund literacy licences for a class at Bellevue Primary School. There were 30 students in the class and it would cost $20 per student.

"It's to enhance their learning, literacy and numeracy. That's the sort of thing that can have massive impact on the school."

Deputy principal of Bellevue School Pam Seath said schools were always trying to raise funds, "not for the extras but for the basics".

"Digital learning is a key component in learning. We like to have a blended mix of traditional learning and digital."

For more information, go to: www.donorschoice.org.nz

- Bay of Plenty Times

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