Alaina Pettus teaches a variety of skills through robotics

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KILLEN, Ala. (WHNT) - In one particular classroom at Brooks High School, you'll find a variety of subjects being taught: from marketing and design to scientific method and engineering, it's all here in the robotics lab.  Though it's the robots themselves teaching many of these lessons, the teacher in charge is Alaina Pettus.  Ms. Pettus founded the program three years ago, and her tireless commitment has earned her our Tools for Teacher's award of $319 to spend in her lab.

Under Pettus's guidance and with the help of her hard-working students, the Brooks robotics team has gone from non-existent to winning regional honors in just a couple of years, most recently placing 3rd out of more than 50 teams at a multi-state competition held at Auburn last December.

Pettus told us that competing in robotics is more than just designing and building a machine; it's an exercise in bringing a technology to market, and the students are in charge of all phases of the project.

"The whole program is set up where the school or the team will run this like a company," she said, "where they build a product and they market the product to try to sell it."

According to Pettus, this blend of business and engineering allows students to explore talents they may have never known they possessed.

"Seeing students realize what they’re good at and being able to apply it is probably more rewarding to me than anything with this program," Pettus said.

Ms. Pettus was nominated by Bob Himber, the husband of Brooks High School Assistant Principal, Anita Himber.  If you know a worthy teacher, coach, principal, or aide, tell us about them through the Tools for Teachers nomination form.