Wednesday, February 5, 2014
A representative from Dorchester District Two asked the Dorchester County Council for funds at its meeting Monday night for the FIRST Robotics program.
For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics programs exist in three county schools – Team 342 at Fort Dorchester High School and Team 3489 at Ashley Ridge and Summerville High schools from DD2, and Team 4083 at Woodlands High School from DD4.
Dr. Minnie Newman Blackwell from the DD2 Career Academy is a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) facilitator, and urged Council to reinvest in the program.
“There is an outcry from industry to train our students for degrees in STEM,” she said. “Please help support our endeavors to train these young people to be engineers.”
Bosch has been a major supporter of the program in local schools, Blackwell said.
Hank Bennett, a director of technical engineering at Bosch, spoke of the technology company’s relationship with the robotics program.
The program costs around $100,000 to fund the three county teams, he said. Of that, Bosch funds half.
The county robotics teams compete in regional and national competitions, which often require funds for travel. In addition, they must pay for materials to build the robots, which have to complete different tasks for each competition.
Teachers and technology professionals from the private sector often volunteer their time to mentor the students as they create the robots from scratch.
“We’re asking for sponsorships” and hope the county will continue to help fund the program, Bennett said.
“This is a very important part of STEM.”
Council meets on the first and third Monday of every month, and will convene at 7 p.m. on Feb. 17 at council chambers in St. George.
All council meetings are open to the public.