I had the pleasure of volunteering at the FRC Bayou Regional in New Orleans last month and I'm happy to report our Lafayette teams made us proud! The Krewe de Reauxbotics from the David Thibodaux STEM Academy, Ramageddon from Acadiana High School and Team Phenomena, based at Comeaux, represented our city well. FIRST (which stands for 'For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology') teams compete in a spirit of "gracious professionalism." This means that the young men and women share tools, supplies and expertise openly with their competitors in order to help every team perform their best.

In my capacity as Pit Announcer (they work on their robots in Pits, just like in car racing,) I witnessed many examples of this sharing, when teams would request parts (I learned what a clevis and a torx screwdriver are!) and help with programming and other teams would rush to their aid. The students even nominate one another for an award based on their helpfulness. Wallets, laptops and even twenty-dollar bills were returned to their rightful owners after being dropped or left behind. The event included a robot parade and a second line, too! The opportunities for these high school students range from experience working with real engineers and other professionals in building a robot for on-field competition, to marketing and advertising, industrial design and fundraising, AND they can win scholarships for their efforts - over $20 million in scholarships are offered to FIRST team members!

If you want to start or join a team, or just want to find out more, click the button below.

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