Former Sedalia Police Officer Bill Chapman doesn’t only impact the local community, he also has a big impact on Team SCREAM, the Smith-Cotton High robotics team, and its members.
Chapman had been with the Sedalia Police Department for more than 36 years when he retired last week and worked with children in Community Policing, teaching them about the various deeds and tasks that police officers do on a daily basis. Chapman met S-C industrial technology teacher Michael Wright at a robotics event that Wright had brought a few students to before Team SCREAM began. As they began talking, Wright and Chapman had a plan to start the team and it has been in full effect ever since.
Team SCREAM has three coaches, head coach Wright, Chapman as senior mentor, and strategy coordinator and assistant coach Kyle Stoecklein, who was approved Monday night by the Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education as Wright’s successor to lead Project Lead the Way and Team SCREAM; Wright will be leaving S-C at the end of the school year for a position at State Fair Community College.
“I love what (Chapman) does and the relationship he has with the kids,” said Stoecklein, who has been with the team for three years. “He has the ability to watch and understand what he has to do.”
Team captain and Smith-Cotton senior Levi Anderson said Chapman is exactly what a mentor should be.
“He is always pushing us and doing things outside of the box,” said Anderson, who also explained that Chapman knows what Wright wants done and is always there to help. “He’s a respected mentor and has been there as long as Mr. Wright. We listen to him and take his advice.”
Chapman said the team set the bar high this year and with the robot they’ve built their goals were “well within our grasp.”
While Team SCREAM didn’t reach the FIRST World Championships, it was a quarter finalist in the Kansas City regional, a semi-finalist at the Hub City Regional in Texas and a finalist at the Oklahoma Regional. The team also received the Excellence in Engineering Award at the Oklahoma Regional and the Industrial Design Award at Hub City.
Chapman is a mentor in every aspect of the team, from strategy and leadership teams, to head scout and all mechanics. He loves working with the kids and has put the same spirit and passion into creating the robot as the team has. Above all, Chapman would like for the community to be more involved in supporting the team.
“We have terrific sponsors and engineers from different factories supporting us,” Chapman said. Many parents are getting more involved this season, as well, however, Chapman hopes to see more people at their local competitions. The team is hosting the Missouri State Championship this Saturday at Smith-Cotton High School and will take part in the Missouri State Fair Robotics Competition at the Armory building on the fairgrounds.
Chapman stressed that his involvement is more about the appreciation of the students than anything else. He hopes to go far with Team SCREAM this season, as their motto is #AllIn.
“We are making a killer robot,” Chapman said.
Haily Zaremba is a student at Smith-Cotton High School.