At the suggestion of a friend, Zach Zwiebel joined the robotics program at the Lima Family YMCA. A year later, he’s the engineer of his team.
“He knew that I liked to build and liked motors and was pretty handy, so he said I should try it,” said the Liberty Arts Magnet School sixth grader. “I thought it was pretty fun, so I came back this year.”
The son of Marvin and Vicky Zwiebel, Zach built the robot and attachments that his team is now competing with. The team, which also includes Liberty student Charlie Schneider, took first place at districts and now will compete at the regional level in January.
The robot, built out of Lego-type materials, has color and touch sensors and is equipped to do various missions.
“It is pretty complicated. It is an actual robot,” he said of the robot his team calls “Squidy.” The team picked the theme “Deep Sea” for this year’s competition.
Zach is also involved with 4-H. He and his miniature schnauzer, Luke, have spent the past four years in the Paws and Pals 4-H Club. He is currently secretary. Zach won three first-place awards at this past year’s Allen County Fair. He also placed fourth and 12th in competitions at the Ohio State Fair.
“I did not expect it,” he said of his success at the state level. “There were 45 kids there. I was really surprised.”
4-H has taught Zach plenty of life skills, he said. He wants to someday be a member of the Junior Fair Board.
“I like how 4-H gives us learning opportunities,” he said. “I’ve learned about judging, community service and how to handle dogs properly. And it’s given me experiences for scholarships and stuff like that.”
Through the club, Zach volunteers at the Allen County Dog Pound. He also helps with mini-courses through Liberty about how to handle dogs and best care for them. The mini course on dogs is one of many done on a variety of topics at Liberty. The courses he participates in and helps with take place at the Humane Society of Allen County.
Zach, who gets mostly all A’s in school, also takes private trumpet and piano lessons and plays baseball and basketball through the city of Lima. He is also in the youth group at Lima Baptist Temple.
Zach is very clear about his future. He wants to be a biologist in the game warden division of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.