Press Releases

Petoskey Robotics Donation

2014 team photo

~~Press Release
Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Contact: Mary Jean Meyerson, 231.838.6859
Petoskey Robotics Donation

An anonymous group of appreciative Petoskey Schools’ parents have donated $5,000 via the Petoskey Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation to the Petoskey Robotics program.  The donation is in support of G3: Geeks Gears and Gadgets, the Petoskey Middle School’s robotics teams.  The donation is a token of appreciation for the retired team founder, Heather Marvin. 

Mrs. Marvin started the program in 2010 and took the team to the World Championship that same year.  In the following years, the team doubled in size and continued to win many awards. Last year’s team advanced to the Iowa Super Regional Competition where they were one of three finalists for a top award.  Although she retired from the Petoskey Schools, Mrs. Marvin remains involved with the Petoskey Robotics program. Heather Marvin’s commitment to the program and to her students made G3 what it is today. 

For information about Petoskey Robotics, visit them at

2/18/14: Robotics Team to try Crowd Funding for Iowa Trip

~~News Release
Feb. 18, 2014

CONTACT:  Carlin Smith, Volunteer–Fund Raising Committee,
231-347-4150 or


Robotics Team to try Crowd Funding for Iowa Trip

To build a robot, you need to be able to solve many problems.  The next problem the Petoskey Middle School Robotics Team needs to solve is how to get to the Super Regionals in Iowa.

The team, Geeks, Gears and Gadgets, or G3, earned the honor of competing at the Super Regionals by winning the State Qualifying Tournament in Marshall in December.  The Super Regionals will be held at Carver Hawkeye Arena on the campus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City April 3 through 5.

A parent committee working with the team estimates it will cost about $12,000 in tournament fees and travel expenses to take the team to this competition.  Parents will be contributing a portion of the costs, but they are going to the community to seek the rest of the funding.

“Earlier this year we raised money from sponsors, businesses, and friends and family members to fund the program,” said Team Coordinator Mary Jean Meyerson.  “But we didn’t anticipate the need to fund a trip out of state,” she added.  Meyerson says her committee is now looking at new sources of revenue to reach their new goal.

One means the committee will try is “crowd funding,” a new trend in fund-raising that uses technology and social media.  “We see crowd funding as a way for extended family members, robotics supporters, and the community as a whole to get behind the team,” Meyerson said.  She noted that crowd funding is designed for people to make small, affordable donations with the hope that a vast number of people will be making contributions.

“The challenge will be to get the word out,” said Cheryl Tallman, the team’s media coach.  Tallman’s student media team will be leading the charge to get the team members, the coaches, the parents, and friends and relatives to spread the word through email and social media.  “These kids have accomplished something that’s quite impressive, and I think everyone will want to get behind them and help them out in some small way,” Tallman said.

To make a contribution to the team’s crowd-funding effort, supporters can visit  This special crowd-funding site has been established for people to support the G3 team with donations of $10 or more. 

While the fund-raising campaign is underway, members of the G3 Design, Build, and Programming teams will be making adjustments to the robot to get it ready for the next level of competition.  “The robot performed very well at the state level,” said team mentor Jon Coveyou.  “But we know we’ll be facing a higher level of competition in Iowa and we need to be ready,” he added.  Coveyou says the team has their eye on advancing to the World Competition in St. Louis at the end of April.


12/2/13: Petoskey to Host Robotics Qualifying Tournament

~~News Release

Petoskey Middle School Robotics Team

CONTACT:  Heather Marvin, Enrichment Coordinator, Petoskey Middle School, 231-348-2150,


Petoskey to Host Robotics Qualifying Tournament

Middle School students from throughout Michigan will be gathering in Petoskey to compete in a statewide robotics competition.  The FIRST Tech Challenge State Qualifier will be held at Petoskey Middle School on Sat. Dec. 14. The event is free and open to the public.

FIRST Tech Challenge is a national organization that promotes the learning of science and technology under the theme of gracious professionalism.  Each year FIRST develops a new challenge for robots that must be solved by students and their mentors.  For the third consecutive year, Petoskey Middle School has fielded a team for competition, and 2013 marks the first year that they will host a competition.

“It’s so exciting to be able to have a competition right here in our home town,” said the program’s advisor Heather Marvin, the enrichment coordinator at Petoskey Middle School.  She says in past years the closest events have been in the Grand Rapids area.

Petoskey’s event will be one of six qualifiers held around the state.  Teams will be vying for the chance to advance to the State Finals to be held in Marshall on Dec. 21.  Marvin says so far 15-teams have registered to come to Petoskey. 

Dubbed the “FTC Block Party,” this year’s challenge for the robots involves the manipulation of blocks inside a small competition arena.  The robot gets points for collecting blocks and placing them in baskets within the playing field.  They can also achieve bonus points if the robot can raise a flag, or hang from a bar.  All of this is made more difficult as other robots are competing in the same playing field at the same time.

The Petoskey Middle School Team is known as Geeks, Gears, and Gadgets, or G3.  The team is comprised of 20 seventh and eighth grade students.  They have been working on the robot since early September when the challenge was first announced.  Each team member works in one of four areas:  design, programming, build, or media.  There is a different adult or high school mentor who works with the students in each area.
 Beyond the mentors, Marvin says a group of parent volunteers have assembled to help coordinate the qualifier.  “They have had a lot of work to do in a short period of time,” Marvin said.  Petoskey officially learned that they were hosting the qualifier one month ago.  “It’s a big event to put together in just two months,” Marvin said.  She is expecting around 500 people to attend. 

Marvin says that the public is encouraged to stop by the free event and watch some of the competition on Dec. 14.  “The tournament is the culmination of months of designing, building, and programming the robot as well as promoting the FIRST program,” she said.  “The students have really honed their skills in problem-solving, teamwork, critical thinking, and public speaking, and we want everyone to see their great work,” Marvin added. 

Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are still available for the qualifying tournament.  To make a donation or learn more about how to volunteer, contact the event’s committee chair Carlin Smith at 347-4150 or contact Mrs. Marvin at Petoskey Middle School at 348-2252.



12/21/12: G3 Robotics Is Victorious At the State Finals

News Release
RE:  Petoskey Middle School: G3 Robotics
DATE:  12/21/12
Contact:  Heather Marvin:, 231.330.1694
              Anne Johnson:, 231-487-1661

G3 Robotics Is Victorious At the State Finals

The Petoskey Middle School Robotics Team competed in the state finals, Saturday in Holland, Michigan. The team came away with a second place alliance finish and was honored with the Think award. The Think award recognizes the team that has an excellent design of their robot.  A key part of winning this award is the Engineering Notebook, a journal that a team can keep pictures and document their process.

In competition, the Petoskey team was chosen by one of the top qualifying teams to be an alliance partner.  The alliance won the semi-final round and competed in the finals where they settled for runner-up in the competition.

This is the team’s second year of competing, doubling its numbers of participating students. The team now consists of twenty students, but it has grown in many more ways than that. The team consists of four sub-groups, build, design, programming, and media. Design uses CAD to create a 3-D model of the robot.  They collaborate closely with the build team, who builds the physical robot. The programming team uses Lego Mindstorms technology, LABview, to program the robot. The media group records sessions and tournament matches, takes pictures, and updates the website,

The team worked very hard to get to the state finals, and they are very pleased with how the weekend went.  “I really enjoyed getting to work with everyone,” says team member, Alex Esterline. The team got to talk to other teams and learn other ways to interpret the game. The team is very satisfied with how the season ended. A team mentor, Mark Brown, says “The team has come a long way in such a short time.  Not just in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) areas, but as a team and working together.  It has been truly wonderful to watch their transformation.” The team will be doing a few more presentations.

They will be wrapping up their season by doing a final presentation with the high school robotics team, the Paladins. A pancake breakfast will take place at the high school robotics teams’ kickoff event, where their game will be presented. The public is welcome to the pancake breakfast to learn more about the US FIRST programs, 9:30 a.m., January 5, 2013. For more information, contact Heather Marvin at 231-330-1694, or


11/27/12 Calling All Geeks

Petoskey Middle School: G3 Robotics


Contact:  Mrs. Marvin, 231-348-2252,
                Anne Johnson, 231-881-1187,

Calling All Geeks!

The Petoskey Middle School robotics team, G3: Geeks, Gears, & Gadgets, will travel downstate this weekend to compete in its first competition of the year. The team is putting the finishing touches on their robot to enter match play against 17 other teams at the qualifying tournament on Saturday, Dec. 7.

There are 20 students on the team, broken up into groups for programming, design, build, and media. The designers, led by Mr. Jon Coveyou (Jervis B. Webb contract mechanical engineer), are using CAD – Computer Assisted Design – to design the robot.  The build team, led by head mentor, Mr. Mark Brown, (Sr. Network Engineer, Anthelio Healthcare Solutions) started building the base as soon as the design team was done. The programmers, under the direction of Mr. John Jerred (Electrical Design Engineer, Honeywell Sensing and Controls), use LAB view to program the Infrared Sensors, which are a major part of the game. The media team, led by Cheryl Tallman (CEO of Fresh Baby and Creative i Advertising) is managing the website, and contacts with sponsors. 

The students started working when the season opened on September 13th this year with this year’s challenge, “Ring It Up.” Ring It Up uses a standard 12’ x 12’ field and rings that robots can hang on PVC pipes to play a high-tech game of tic-tac-toe. Anyone can learn more about the game at the FIRST website for FTC,
The team will participate in several competitions. On November 17, the team went to a scrimmage in Grand Rapids, and on Dec. 7-8 they will attend a qualifying tournament in Kentwood. The state championships are in Holland and Ypsilanti on December 14 and 15. The public is welcome to all of these events.

The team is very excited about the upcoming events and is working hard on the robot. One of the design mentors, Mr. Coveyou says that he “truly enjoys seeing kids get so excited about technology and being geeks.” Mrs. Marvin, enrichment coordinator at Petoskey Middle School adds, “The FIRST Robotics program is about so much more than designing, building, and programming a robot. Students are applying what they learn in class with the math and physics, but they are also learning important life skills such as problem-solving, setting goals, teamwork, and public speaking.”

The team is part of an organization called FIRST. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”. This organization encourages students into the growing industries of the STEM disciplines. STEM stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math”. FIRST has many age groups ranging from lower elementary to high school. G3 is in FIRST Tech Challenge.

One of the things that the parents and mentors on the team are always thinking about is sponsorship. The students send out letters and make phone calls to local business men and women in hope of financial help. The team tries to stay very local with sponsorships and grants. The team is also involved in community outreach. Once a week, several students go to Sheridan Elementary to encourage the younger students to go into the STEM fields. The members of Geeks, Gears, and Gadgets appreciate community donations and support, and are excited to test their skills in the first competition this weekend. To help with G3 or to make a donation, contact Heather Marvin, at the Petoskey Middle School, 231.348.2252.