Competitions and Clubs

We value competitions and clubs the bring unique real-world opportunities to our students. We are excited by what we offer through our department, as shown below. 



Rocketry Club

Other CS Clubs

Computer Science Clubs


Our Morganton and Durham campuses have different histories, faculty, and settings and we have chosen paths that provide the richest robotics experiences to a broad range of students on each campus by taking advantage of the unique qualities of each campus. No matter which campus you are on you can be sure there is an exciting robotics opportunity for you.


Our robotics program on the Durham is well known thanks to the amazing NCSSM FIRST Robotics Team 900, the Zebracorns. The Zebracorns have been sponsored by NCSSM since 2002 and have become internationally recognized for their work with ROS, machine learning, computer vision, and design. They accept students from the community and have also spread the love of robotics through sponsoring teams in FIRST Lego League and FIRST Tech Challenge as well as mentoring a number of new and now well-established teams in North Carolina, including several through its TIGER program. We are thankful to the many mentors, several of whom are alumni and/or from the tech sector, who guide student leadership to create a consistently incredible robotics experience. 

NCSSM students on the Zebracorns can earn academic credit through our Competitive Robotics Design course which allows them to formalize their work on the FRC robot and have an authentic data-informed prototype and redesign experience that results in a paper, presentation, or portfolio. 

Our Introduction to Robotics course is being upgraded in 2023-2024 to use the VEX robotics system which includes programming in Python and a virtual tool that accelerates learning to program the robot. We combine software and electronics with artistry in our Art, Tech, and Computing course, jointly offered by the Fine Arts and ECS and have other opportunities in electronics in Biomedical Instrumentation and J-term opportunities. 

Our Computer Science department offers a variety of interdisciplinary introductory courses for those who wish to learn programming and computer science and advanced courses that include Fundamentals of Object Oriented Design, Machine Learning, and Data Structures and Algorithms. Our engineering faculty offer several additional courses important to robotics, including Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Circuits.

The Peter T. Haughton Innovation and Fabrication Lab boasts a variety of digital tools that support robotics, including a CNC mill, waterjet cutter, laser cutters, and 3D printers. Our Mechatronics Lab includes 3D printers that can make structural parts as well as tools to facilitate robot construction and testing. The Mechatronics Lab also hosts our Introduction to Robotics course.


Our robotics program at NCSSM-Morganton threads robotics throughout our curriculum, including courses in Introductory Robotics, Robotics Design for Competition, Digital and Robotic Agriculture, J-term experiences, and a summer research experience. We also support independent robotics research. Our experiences are based on the VEX platform through VRC, which may also include VEX AI (depending on interest and availability), underwater robotics through the MATE program, and we are considering offering opportunities related to the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC).

We offer engineering courses important to robotics - Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering - as well as computer science courses - Computing for Everyone, Fundamentals of Object Oriented Design, Machine Learning, and Data Structures and Algorithms. We are currently anticipating the delivery of equipment to the Fabrication Lab that we believe to be unique in a high school setting and which has direct application to fabrication for robotics. VEX AI, MATE, and FTC allow many opportunities for custom manufactured parts. (FRC is not offered at NCSSM-Morganton; however, we understand a community team is open to interested students.  More information is available at FIRST North Carolina.)