In September of 2011, the Cedarcrest CTE (Career and Technical Education) Department was selected as a recipient of a Washington FIRST robotics grant in the amount of $7,000 from the OSPI (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction). Additional financial support was provided by parent Jill Wagner, who helped to secure a grant from NASA in the amount of $6,500, and a $500 grant from Platt Electric.
Left to right: Taylor Cramer, Andrew Burnell, Kevin Ross, Ethan Klingsheim Courtesy photo.
FIRST, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a non-profit public charity which was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen and is based in Manchester, New Hampshire, to inspire young peoples’ interest and participation in science and technology.
Cedarcrest CTE Director Donna Bielstein says, “FIRST strives to design accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.”
Cedarcrest teachers Mike Miyoshi and Les Collins were initially approached with the idea for this project by their students, and volunteer Kevin Ross, “as the driving force.” Students with varying degrees of academic and technical aptitudes were then recruited to become the first ever Cedarcrest High School FIRST robotics team.
The team is comprised of the following students who have been actively involved in major parts of the robotics process: Andrew Burnell, Taylor Cramer, Dominic Dams, Miles Denison, Chris Dowd, Adam Ish, Ellie Ish, Ethan Klingsheim, Jake Knoth, Kendall Koch, Zachary Mabe, Nathaniel Nemeth, Nate Sutherland, Keenan Taylor, Kyle Thompson, Lucas Wagner, Jaclyn Ward, Madison Waterman and Zach Wynakos.
Other participating students include Sidney Allen, Trevor Ashby, Alicia Browning, Savannah Egger, Austin Koons, Gina McNulty and Emily Rule. These inspiring students named their team “Stealth” Robotics and have been building their robot a.k.a. their “innovative technology marvel” since early January 2012.
Along with Mr. Miyoshi and Mr. Collins the students worked with and were mentored by community volunteers, Greg Schwartz and Kevin Ross. Mr. Ross has been involved with FIRST Robotics since early 1999. He explained the remarkable growth of this project over the years, saying, “In 2007 there were only 15 FIRST Robotics teams, and now there are 96 high school teams in Washington state, with over 5,000 student participants.”
On Tuesday, February 28th, Mr. Miyoshi and FIRST Robotic students Jake Knoth, Nate Sutherland, and Madison Waterman gave an exceptionally impressive presentation regarding their robotics project to the Riverview School Board Directors, “one of the most professional presentations we have seen in quite a while,” stated School Board President Lori Oviatt.
The FIRST Robotics Multi-State Regional Competition will be held at CenturyLink Event Center on March 23-24, 2012, and the International Competition will be in St. Louis Missouri, April 26-28, 2012.
Teacher Mike Miyoshi affirms, “It has been a lot of work, but the students have created a great robot. We could not have done it without great mentors like Les Collins, Kevin Ross and Greg Schwartz. And of course, we have great parents and mentors involved like Steve Denison, Rob Sutherland, Ronda and Ted Ish, and others. It has truly been a cooperative endeavor. I look forward to the competitions, but the results so far have been well worth the effort.”