Nadine Hubner, a representative of Scott Wagner’s office, was present to show the State Senator’s support of STEM. When asked for her thoughts on the program, she said, “FIRST has so many positives to it, even if a student doesn’t decide to go into engineering. All the skill sets...and the problem solving you learn you really take into your life. So I think it’s a really great thing to do and it’s fun. I wish they had this when I was a kid.” These skills have allowed TechFire alumni to attend universities for engineering such as Yale, Syracuse, and Penn State. Additionally, students gain access to hundreds of scholarships, totaling over $50 million, available only through the FIRST program.
Boy Scout Troop 54 leader, Chris Beauregard and his troop of scouts ages 11-14 were also present at the event in order to kickoff their engineering merit badge. Beauregard was impressed by how his troop’s interest grew as they saw the number of teenagers engaged in such a high-energy engineering event. “To see the problem solving, teamwork and then to see the young people here getting excited about the competition is fascinating. You can already see their brains turning, almost like ‘How am I gonna solve this problem and what am I going to be working on?’“
This kickoff sparks a six week period in which students will need to design, build, and program a functional robot to compete in challenges over the next few months. With the right strategy, TechFire 225 may qualify for district, and even world events, as they have for the last 5 years.
For more information on FIRST or POWER UP, please visit www.firstinspires.org. Follow this season’s team action at www.techfire225.com. .