FIRST in Danger

Team 5 from Melvindale High School is about to be no more. As a team we had no wear to build or store our robot,practice field,goals, or tools. That is until we got approval to use the garage of our school that nobody else used. It was unheated and dreary looking but we made it our headquarters. So with that we had a place to build and to get our jobs done. Well now it appears that they want to give our “robotics lab” to the athletes and make it an exercise room. It’s bad enough that our teams aren’t the best but they have a gym, a weight room, and the wrestling room. What more do they need? I too participate in sports but without a place of our own robotics will have no where to go. That will just give the message that sports are more important than academics. I know I personally have learned alot from the experience of FIRST that I could never fully get out of a book. So please help support our cause. Write letters or call our school and superintendent. Tell them why robotics is so important and that we need to have a lab of our own.

Superintendent Cora Kelly (313) 389-3300
Principal Michael Reynolds (313) 389-3320
Melvindale High School
18656 Prospect
Melvindale, MI 48122

Same thing happened to our autoshop. I tried to stop them, but it was the football parents who pushed it through.
My advice for you is to get as many parents as possible and have them start going to board meetings. If you get enough parents to complain you can get anything done. The board fears the parents use it to your adcantage.

Unfortunatly most people and parents think that the football team is the most important thing in the school and other clubs should bow down in their presence. Too bad only one out of every 10 million or so will ever play pro football. Where as there is always a need for more engineers, scientists, programmers, builders, and machineists. Most of the students involved aren’t considered the coolest kids around, but hey just remember you have a much better chance of succeding at what your doing then what they are doing. Try telling your school that. We to have had some problems keeping our space but now since we’ve won a few things i think they are going to let us keep it.

YOur only problem is that robotics is not widely accepted yet, nobody really knows about it so most of them think theres another place for you to work. I hate it when a school give favoritesim to teams who win one or two games a season but not people who can desing and build a functioning robot in six weeks.

Make sure you let Dean know about this; he’s not afraid of flexing his muscles.

Hey that would be funnny. Dean comming in on a Segway to a school board meeting. I can see it now.

Get as many companies (big ones) and parents behind you as possible. Trust me, it is needed. Football/all sports parnets have no life and will pigen-hole you more than a old-conservative on race relations in the 1950’s. They are snooty, and the last thing you want to be is that too.

Remember, Gracious Professionalism.

PS I will help as much as I can, give me a PM or email and I’ll write.

While it might be an inconvenience, don’t forget that you don’t necessarily need to meet at your school. Our team is from multiple schools and we don’t hold meetings at any of them. Our main sponsor provided us space and a lot of help. It may not be easy to get another sponsor generous enough, but if your school bails on you, it is an alternative.

If your team plans on fighting this at a school board meeting, I’m sure several members of 470, myself included, will be more than willing to come out and back you up. We really enjoyed partnering with you at GLR and we wouldn’t want to see your team disbanded. So let me know if you need any help.

AIM: LilGenkiGirl
e-mail: [email protected]

-Abi Schmidt
Team 470

The only reason football parents care so much is because they are involved. I do not know about your school, but I know at our school and others with the FIRST program in the area, football gets the whole neighborhood to a game. This allows for everyone to get pumped up about football. But because there is no were even close to the amount of people from the neighborhood at a FIRST event, they have no idea of what the robot does. There are usually just a handful of parents. If you could get the neighborhood involved as much as the do with football, then you might not have these problems. I just dont know why your school would need an exercise room if you have a weight room already.

I would go to the local newspaper and radio station letting the community know about this problem.

This thread just goes to show how important it is FIRST becomes more widely known. FIRST is working on it, TV would be a very large help.

If its a school board meeting see if you can’t get some water there :wink:

*Originally posted by Sabina *
**I would go to the local newspaper and radio station letting the community know about this problem. **

That would be good, i’d have kids with the robot do a demo for the paper, and maybe get it on the front page, if is a small enough local one.

Who has control over building? Do the athletics people have more power than normal teachers?

Its unjust, but hunting for a new place might be a good idea. Maybe someone has a garage or a shop that you could utilize.

Of course, with my roaming-free cell phone, ill spam their answering machines:D

I appreciate it Ben. And for everyone else I’ll get the school website address on here tomorrow…that is for all you high-techers that don’t use snail mail anymore. Thanx for the ideas I appreciate them. Abi I’ll be contacting you soon. Wish us luck.

Team 5

my school is facing similar problems.

first of all, it’s really two schools in one. there’s the 10 - 12 building, and then the “9th grade annex”. the 9th grade building used to be a middle school, and the 10 - 12 was one of two high schools. then, the district moved everything around, so all four grades are in two buildings, but still on the same campus.

now, the room we were in this year was in the FC (freshmen campus). i’m not sure if we can use it next year, because the teacher isn’t going to be in the club next year, even though that shouldn’t matter. now, at the 10 - 12 building, the admin is being as stupid as possible. they’re knocking out half of the wood shop to put in an ISD room! then they’re ripping all of the servers out of the current storage place (one of the admin offices) and moving all of the school’s servers across the building, rewiring the entire network along the way. nowhere, is the thought of a room for technology/metalworking/ROBOTICS/etc.

luckily, next year we’ll have a few seniors at a local college (SUNY Stoney Brook), so we may be able to get a room there (if we’re nice, and the seniors are nice too :p). if all else fails, we’ll be working in someone’s garage for 6 weeks. not the best, but we made do without any fancy tools this year (all our parts went out for machining). i just wish we could get a place outside of the school’s jurisdiction, cause it’s quite frankly getting annoying.

i just wish that learning was more important than ISD. this is the reason why the person who invented politics should burn in hell forever. :smiley:

On another note, instead of building support in the community, have you guys actually tried explaining to the board meeting why FIRST is important to you? My suggestion is to get a few students - some seniors, some freshmen, and have them talk at the board meeting on how FIRST has changed their high-school expierience. Also try and actually get the robot there as a demonstration of what you have built using that room. If they actually SEE how much work you guys have done and if they actually HEAR first-hand how the club has changed students’ expieriences, they might reconsider what is more important to them: sports, which is an after-school activity, or a way to constantly expand the educational expierience of the students beyond just the classroom.

I personally would suggest walking into a board meeting and talk to them almost like your doing a Sponsorship pitch (i guess you kinda are).

Bring the bot, few kids, a teacher, a parent…I would bring your teams’ animation video, the chairman’s award…

One thing that my team is doing for our sponsorship pitches is that we’re making an ‘advertisement’ almost…It’s about 2 mins long, and breifly shows why the program deserves support: Community involvemnt, opens doors for students, advertise (the school, the board, etc), and gives kids a chance to learn useful stuff.

One person that you might want to think about bringing along with you (if you can) is someone who was in the FIRST programme at your school in a past year that has gone on and graduated, and get them to come in and say something like “FIRST helped me get where I am today…Please give the students at the school now the same oppurtunity”.

Also, I suggest to everyone here: Pick up the phone and call Superintendent Cora Kelly at (313) 389-3300 and urge her to keep the FIRST programme alive at Melvindale High School. We’re talking about a 30 second phone call that can SERIOUSLY help the school.

Additionaly, a suggestion to you Rachel to try to make the programme more appealing to the school: Try to come up with some sorta thing that will help the school out. Like at my school the Robotics team has “Movie Days” - we basically put a movie on in the auditorium during the lunch period to keep kids outa the halls and stuff. Helps with supervision, makes it easier for the teachers, and the kids enjoy a movie (which of course has a Robotics ad at the begining instead of a movie ad :)). These people are greedy, if having the programme remain will somehow help them, they might be more inclined to go along with it.

Hope this helps…and REMEMBER EVERYONE: CALL 313-389-3300!!!

*Originally posted by Sabina *
**I would go to the local newspaper and radio station letting the community know about this problem. **

go anywhere you can with this…be LOUD stand strong…you worked hard for that room dont let the jocks take it away…go to the school board meetings and get involved there contact Deano definitely…and finally get ur parents, mentors and anybody that knows ANYTHING about FIRST to stand up for u too…this is not a war that is going to be easily won…its going to take a combined effort from everyone on your team and the community…

Sports teams already have names for themsleves…and unfotunately to those teams we are just a bunch of geeks that do this for fun…the truth is they dont know the half of it and they wont be compaionate…im sorry to all the Jocks that are on the teams and this is not directed at you…because i am a jock too but this has gone too far…where do u draw the line at how much sports mean to a school…since when do sports get the average kid a scholarship to a college, since when does sports inspire kids to even go to college and finally since when does sports give you a real world look at the way people work together towards a common goal…

im sorry but i get angry when i read these type of posts because we are miunderstood…i hate to sound preechy and nerdy and like ima hXc dork but there are just some tings that need to be said and need to stay in the school sytem FIRST robotics is one of them…!!

Have a Good Day!

-Joe Troy
Team 357
Royal Assault
“Dare to do mighty things”

The Brazilian Machine played with team 5 in 2001 in VCU and Nationals. There are really nice people in this team, always ready to show their robot’s features and talk. Their robot was pretty good too (our high score last year happened playing with them)!

Rachel, if you post here the school’s e-mail address I’ll write to them trying to help your team, but I can’t call or write a letter. Please give us the right contact for that purpose.

No FIRST team must end, specially a team with such a low number. If you don’t manage to use that room, please do your best to find another one. Some teams work in the garage of one of the students, for example.

Good luck!

The school website is scroll down to Melvindale High School and click on that. Then click on staff webpages at the top. Then a thing will appear on the side of the screen. Scroll down to M. Reynolds and click on my planner. and then email the teacher. he’s really the principal though.

:smiley: You guys have some great ideas.

Team 5

Something I havent seen anybody mention but can make a big difference…get the city council involved. Sometimes that is possible and sometimes it isnt, but when they say something to the school superintendent…they tend to at least pay a little more attention. Also get some of the science and math teachers on your side, not to mention the technology teachers. Let THEM say how benificial they find this program. Also try to get one or two of them to go to the board meetings. Parents and teachers encouraging something together normally turns into a very effective strategy. You get enough people to stand strong together…and the sports teams dont have as much leverage to stand on.

OK this gets even better. The whole reason why they want to give up our lab is because of a school bond. Our school is going to bid for a bond so our school can be rebuild. In the process a company came to our school and said they’d give us 2 million dollars worth of exercise equipment. all the school has to do is take measurements and staticistics of the users. So they’re trying to act like this will benefit everyone involved. First off, we have a weight room and only the athletes use that and the weight room is suppossedly “opened to anyone”. Secondly, the school is valuing free money and athletics over robotics. Just bc we are a minority group at our school. What’s the chances of becoming an enginner or an inventor or whatever over being a pro athlete? This is stupid and another example of athletics being favored of education.