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The 2021-22 Grenada School District robotics team, Pure Imagination, has been building, coding and competing since 2016. 

Named in honor of the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Pure Imagination is made up of middle and high school students with an affinity and aptitude for robotics and engineering. The team meets after school in the classroom of coach Ryan Melton at the Grenada Career and Technical Center. 

Each year the team designs its competitive robot based on criteria from FIRST, a team-based robotics program implemented in schools throughout the world. They learn the year’s challenge in September and spend much of the fall developing, building, and programming their robot. In addition to creating a machine that can meet the competition goals, the robots are built to certain specifications and composed of approved materials.

Melton’s classroom at GCTC includes a “maker’s space” with 3D printers, a CNC precision-cutting machine, VR headsets, and a laser cutter/engraver. This room allows students to design and create anything they can imagine.

Pure Imagination puts their creativity to the test during fall and winter competition season. They travel — and often host — competitive meets with other schools in the Northern League of Mississippi. If they score high enough, they may qualify for the state championship meet.

At the state championship in 2022, Pure Imagination competed with 18 other teams from around Mississippi. After a day of competition, they finished in ninth place against the best teams in the state. “They walked away with the Judge’s Award, which is our first true award at the state competition,” Melton said. “That goes to a team that does great in all categories — robots, interview, outreach, and engineering portfolio.”

One team member, GHS junior Leah Oakes, was selected as one of three students in the state to represent Mississippi as an ambassador at the FIRST Championships this summer in Houston, Texas. Oakes served as an adviser to other teams at the championships, which is attended by thousands of students from all over the world. She also had the opportunity to liaison with tech corporations on hand for the event.

Now in its eighth season, Pure Imagination has improved its outreach skills. Members have collaborated virtually with teams from other states as well as formed alliances with local sponsors Milwaukee Tool, Perma R Products, and the Grenada Chamber of Commerce. 

Students who are interested in joining Pure Imagination may contact Mr. Melton for more information.


Robotics Roster 2022-23

Robotics 2021-22