View Full Version : Robotics Editorial

07-08-2006, 08:38 AM
The following is from today's Arizona Republic. While it does not mention FIRST or our team number, 842, they did include a picture of our team and robot from the AZ Regional. More importantly, the editorial staff finally "gets it": it's the message of FIRST

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Hayden robotics team offers beacon of hope
Members show others what can be done regardless of circumstances
Jul. 7, 2006 12:00 AM

It was a scene as pressure-packed as the flight of Apollo 13. As tense as a clip from Mission Impossible.

The Carl Hayden High School robotics team was nearly sunk. Its underwater robot was leaking. The casing that held its vital electronics had collapsed - in the middle of the national competition at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. It could not rise to the surface on its own.

Two years ago, in what was considered by many a fluke, Carl Hayden's team, made up of mostly Latino kids from Maryvale, had won the national underwater robotics championship.

They wanted to do well again. But what could they do? In the middle of the 30-minute competition? Nine other robots had failed.

But the gritty, resourceful Phoenix kids didn't quit. The students pulled their robot, Ipski-Pipski, up from the tank, taking the five-minute penalty, then made a hasty repair and sent the robot back underwater, where it completed the assigned task and finished its mission in 26.8 minutes, the second-fastest time.

The Falcons are back in Phoenix this week, having taken second-place national honors, beating high school and college students from across the country, including the team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Their coaches, Fredi Lajvardi and Allan Cameron, were beaming.

"They never gave up and pulled off a successful mission out of a near-disaster," Cameron said of the competition.

The team also cemented a solid national reputation: They're solid, inventive engineering students who can compete with anyone.

Of course, we in the Valley have been watching them for several years now. We know what the robotics team has become for inner-city kids: a symbol and a bridge.

A symbol that they, too, can succeed. And a bridge to get more youngsters into science and engineering, two major educational priorities for the nation.

The robotics team members like Annalisa Regalado and Cristian Arcega talk up robotics to junior high students in the area. As a result, Cameron and Lajvardi's team has swelled over the past three years to 50 members.

Every senior on the team for the past three years has gone on to college, the majority on scholarships, or entered the military.

Theirs is a great story that should inspire every student in the Valley - and especially those who have been told they're not smart enough to do well.

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For more info see thread:

Allan Cameron, PhD.
Teacher, Carl Hayden High School
Phoenix, AZ

Falcon Robotics Team 842
Amatuer Radio Club KC7KFF