What does the President of Palau, The Discovery Channel, mid-Michigan businesses, and an international foundation have in common? They all want to talk to these kids; this group of Stockbridge High School Robotics students are making their second trip to the remote island of Palau.
"Last year, we had a couple of robotics difficulties when we got to Palau... after we figured it out we got picture and video of the Corsair. It was unexpected but it ended up being very awesome," said Buck Boszywak a senior going on the trip for a second time.
Using robots designed and built in this classroom, the group came across a Marine Corps corsair aircraft shot down in 1944. A group of fisherman happened to come across that wreckage the week the students arrived. But that plane wasn't what they set out to find.
"We were mainly looking for the last B-24 in Palau that was missing. It has 8 crew members with it, but finding the Corsair and getting the first video images of it in 68 years was mind blowing," said Boszywak.
This year they're going back to search for that B-24 again. The Bent Prop Project searches for missing POWs and MIAs and asked the students to create a robot to assist the crew.
"I told them we could do it. Building the robot is the easy part. Acquiring the funding was really the hard part." said Bob Richards, the Stockbridge High Robotics Teacher.
But the students raised the funds. The community rallied around their efforts to bring closure to families of more than 75,000 service members who are still missing from WWII.
"Right now, we're at 35,000 for this year. We raised about 40,000 last year. We've done a bunch of different types of fund raisers," said Jenny Spink, a senior.
The students can't take their robot to the ocean to test it, so they use the next best thing... a cow trough. They hope the changes to their robot will make their search even more successful than the last one.
"We've rebuilt our robot. and we've added more cameras to our robot, so I think we have a much better robot than we had last year," said Mr.. Richards.