By Denise Koch

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ)– When a student can’t attend school because of an illness or an injury– it impacts more than just their education. It can cause loneliness and even depression. But robots can help ease the despair.

The first Anne Arundel County student to use a robot is being honored.

Peter Jauschnezg was president of his class at Old Mill High School and a two-time cancer survivor. Peter’s robot Marvin helped make school possible.

Peter graduated from Old Mill last June and is in college now, but he returned for a basketball game because the class of 2017 raised money to purchase a robot who has been named after Peter.

Peter, the human, was being treated for leukemia and taking classes online with teachers, when he received an email offering him the chance to use a robot at school.

“I got so excited. I was like ‘mom, mom, read this email. Read this email,'” he said.

The robot, Marvin, which is a cross between a Segway with an iPad on top, was controlled by Peter with a keyboard, which bridged the educational gap for Peter.

“When you have this robot it makes it so you have motivation to go to school because you can see your friends,” Peter said. “You can interact with your friends. you can interact with your teachers. It’s not just typing and reading.”

The newest robot that was donated by the 2017 class, is a second generation robot.

Currently, there are 13 robots in Anne Arundel County schools that are helping students as young as a typical fifth grader.

Nothing makes Peter happier than knowing other students will now share the gift he was given when a robot brought him out of isolation and back into the fun of school.

Marvin will be used at the Old Mill complex which includes a high school and two middle schools.

The robots cost around $4,000. Eventually Anne Arundel County’s ‘Digital Classroom Project’ would like each school to have its own. They are always eager for donations.

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