The Garden City Robotics League submitted the following article.
The newly formed Garden City Robotics League (GCRL) held its first kick-off meeting Sept. 5 at The Presbyterian Church.
The meeting, led by Trish Lynch, head of the GCRL, was a great success. Children, parents, coaches and mentors were provided additional information about the league, shown an inspirational video about this year's topic and enjoyed ice cream and other refreshments to close out the meeting.
The GCRL was established by a group of parents to bring more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs to the community and school district.
The program the league has chosen to achieve this goal is called FIRST. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen. The mission of FIRST is to get students interested in science, technology and engineering. FIRST offers a very structured educational program with defined core values and a heavy emphasis on teamwork and student exploration of real world problems (similar to those faced by scientists today).
FIRST follows a sports model and uses robotics as the medium for engaging students. It has several grade-related programs: the Jr.FLL (Junior FIRST Lego League) for grades K- 3, the FLL (FIRST Lego League) for grades 4-8, and the FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) and the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) for high school-aged students. FIRST is an international program with over 150,000 elementary school students (grades 4-8) in more than 50 countries participating.
Since getting off the ground this past spring, the GCRL has been operating as a community-driven and community-funded organization. The GCRL has successfully signed up several teams so far: 4 FLL teams and two Jr. FLL teams. This is a great start and demonstrates a high level of interest for these types of programs in the community.
The league has coaches, mentors and a space to hold their meetings. Coaches and mentors have attended robotics conferences and competitions. The league's kick-off meeting was the culmination of several months of work.
The season ends in March and the topic this year is "Senior Solutions" - addressing issues faced by the elderly. The GCRL would like to gratefully acknowledge the attendance of several people in support of their kickoff meeting.
In attendance were: Rick Ramhap, a senior representative from FIRST; Dr. Teresa Prendergast, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, Garden City School District; and Kathie Wysocki, GC Agate (Agate = Advocacy for Gifted and Talented Education).
The GCRL recognized and thanked both Dr. Prendergast for supporting the school district's new winter and summer robotics programs and Kathie Wysocki for providing initial start-up funding through GC Agate.
The GCRL also thanked Pastor Wanda of the Presbyterian Church for permitting the GCRL to use their space and for so warmly welcoming the children and expressing support for the values taught by FIRST.
The head of the GCRL is Trish Lynch. Anyone interested in getting more information about the GCRL, or financially supporting the GCRL, can contact Trish at firstname.lastname@example.org.