Feature 2 of the month CTE 2022: advanced software programming and development, 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 accomplishments and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country. To help Sulfur Springs High School celebrate CTE Month 2022, KSST has compiled short videos showcasing a few of the CTE programs offered at SSHS. At least one will be featured for each week of the CTE month.


Students interested in computer science and robotics courses can take Matt Wilder’s programming and software development and manufacturing and engineering courses. Students in the latter stream at Sulfur Springs High School typically follow applied engineering principles, which flow into Robotics I and II.

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

Students enrolled in manufacturing and engineering courses work on projects during their senior year and have the opportunity to apply for an internship, which allows them to gain hands-on experience in the job market. Wilder works with Joe Wallace at Saputo to help facilitate internship opportunities.

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

They worked on their CVs and sent emails with the necessary communication to the appropriate person to schedule an interview with the aim of potentially being selected for an internship. Although applying and interviewing for a new job can be a bit daunting, students see it as an opportunity to have 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 the reprogramming of Andy the Ambulance, a miniature motorized ‘robot’ ambulance that Hopkins County Emergency Medical Services has used in recent years to help teach young people children safety promotion topics. EMS asked them to check it to see if it can be updated for future use. So far Alba and Mireles have torn parts of it, pulled out wires to see how it works and when they’re done, they’ll put it back together. They’ll have to check out the wheel and motor system that allows Andy to flash his lights, mimicking a real ambulance responding to a call. They tested Andy’s voice, modulating it up and down, seeing how the robotic ambulance sounds with different tones, including a deep voice.

Another project involved building and using a robotic arm in automation. Their task was 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 in a fast food restaurant. Although the class does not currently have all the necessary equipment, no George Foreman type grill to cook the sandwich and then remove it, the students use a scanner/copier to simulate the process while they work on the programming process.

While still in class, the students modulated much of the engineering process: reviewing and setting up a problem, looking 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 that programming the automated robotic arm to make a grilled cheese sandwich requires extreme precision. For example, if the bread is not placed exactly in the designated spot, the spatula may not be able to pick it up or, if it does, may drop it because the measurement programmed in will be disabled. Equipment and supplies must be aligned precisely. Even a fraction or 1-2 centimeters can make a big difference in whether the sandwich can be prepared or even assembled, let alone grilled. A piece that is too loose or too tight can also negatively impact the success of the project, Alba noted. Any movement of equipment or ingredients used that is not attached to the robotic arm must be smooth or result in an error requiring additional programming to correct.

But, Mireles and Alba enjoy the challenge, which they say is balanced – neither too easy nor too difficult. The only downside, according to the students, is that “more people have to sign up.” They are the only students currently in the class.

According to CTE Director Jenny Arledge, students in these classes can also potentially work towards an industry-based certification involving operation of the FANUC robotic arm. Mireles and Alba are expected to start this month studying in the classroom to potentially work and meet certification requirements, which they can then use when they graduate to apply for a job.


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

If you missed the Launcher and Pharmacy features, be sure to click the links below to catch up:

Kick-Off Event: Sulfur Springs High School Kicks Off CTE Month 2022 with Mayor’s Proclamation

Feature 1 of the Month CTE 2022: Pharmacy Technician Certification Program

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