TAMPA, Fla. - It's not everyday that students get to create their own business let alone serve clients like Tampa General Hospital, TECO Energy, the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County Public Schools. 

Gentlement's Quest of Tampa hosted a summer STEM Camp where 40 students could create robots and pitch them to their clients. 

Earl Knighten, a senior at Durant High School says he was determined not to disappoint with his invention. 

What You Need To Know

  • STEM Camp by Gentlemen's Quest challenged students to create robots for TECO, TGH, City of Tampa, HCPS

  • Students were tasked with helping local businesses improve/ solve problems with robot

  • Students with best robot won $10,000 scholarship

Before this STEM camp he had never worked with programming or coding. 

"We built this robot that could scan trash from recycled," said Knighten. 

The City of Tampa tasked Knighten's team to help solve a problem with recycling. 

"Sulphur Springs is a low income neighborhood that doesn't recycle at all," he added. 

Through trial and error the team came up with a solution. 

"You put it [item] up to the camera and it says bottle recycleable," Knighten said as he demonstrated how the robot is used. 

The robot guides residents on whether to 'trash it' or recycle. 

Meanwhile, sophomore Sharod Ford's team is working to solve a different kind of problem within Hillsborough County Public Schools that involves tracking attendance. 

"Since there is a lack of teachers and the number of students are going up and that's a real problem," said the Florida College Academy student. 

His teammate Bloomingdale High School Freshman Vikramaditya Pathania programmed their robot for facial recognition. 

It marks students "present" as they enter the classroom and keeps a digital log. 

Building the bots was just the beginning for these students who also had to present their projects to a room full of elected officials, business leaders, community members, family and friends.. They created commercials and jingles for their brands, as well. 

Sharod's team took home the winning prize, a $10,000 scholarship. 

"All the hard work that we have done has actually paid off, and I'm really happy. I can't really explain it into words," said Sharod. 

But in this stem camp, everyone comes out a winner. 

Both Earl and Sharod leave the camp more confident in their problem solving skills and ability to persevere. 

Keiser University also awarded $25,000 to graduating senior Jayalan Moreau.

“Our program is committed to championing student success and ensuring the young men in our community have every opportunity to excel in school and in life,” said Gentlemen's Quest Founder Tavis Myrick.

About Gentleman’s Quest

Gentlemen’s Quest of Tampa Inc. is dedicated to helping our program participants realize their full potential as students, make positive choices regarding their academics and behavior, and equip them with the skills necessary to become productive citizens after they graduate.  To accomplish this mission, we host workshops and activities that will provide students with strategies to be successful in difficult situations.  Students attend meetings that are structured and targeted.  The academic and behavioral progress of the students are monitored regularly.  Throughout this process, their intellectual, emotional, and relational capacity expands by providing key experiences that contribute to their developmental growth.