The Logan High For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Team has been getting awards from AEP since 2001.
This year, Logan High School’s robotics team received a $1,000 FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Team Grant and the Ralph R. Willis Career Technical Center received a FIRST Robotics Competition grant for $7,450. Man High School received a FIRST Tech Challenge team grant fro $1,000 and Man Middle School received a FIRST LEGO League grant for $2,50.
The Mingo Career and Technical Center received three grants totaling $8,750.
For many years members of the Logan County Schools various FIRST Robotics Team have been competing against other schools nationwide, many of them with heavy financial and technical sponsorships from agencies like General Motors and NASA. And the local kids have been coming out very well in state and national competitions.
In the past the Logan County Commission and the local BOE have also been supportive of students involved in the robotics teams.
Peggy Vance noted that the entries crafted by students get more advanced each year. Right from the start, Logan County’s students had done well, despite the fact that they were often up against teams with gigantic funding, special equipment (such as CNC machines and lathes) and expertise provided by professional engineers working for major organizations. Year after year, Logan’s teams have continued to compete and do well in regional and national competitions.
The US First organization, which hosts the robotics competitions was founded by Dean Kamen, to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills to also help foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership. Kamen himself is an inventor, entrepreneur, and proponent of science and technology. Kamen wished to promote learning of science and technology by young people through FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), which was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. The not-for-profit public charity designs 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.
For more information about the robotics challenge contests, visit www.usfirst.org on the internet. In 2008, the Logan County Robotics Team 337 was victorious in winning the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Entrepreneurship Award on the first day of competition at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Team 337 was successful thanks to their sponsors, AEP (American Electric Power), local businesses, as well as the Logan County Board of Education and the Logan County Commission for their continued support . Through the efforts of Mine Lifeline LLC, Team 337 was able to put forth a plan that over fifteen judges felt was above all of the participating thirty- six competitive teams.
In 2002, American Electric Power issued a challenge to area businesses on behalf of the local FIRST Robotics competition team.
Mark Dempsey of AEP challenged other technology businesses “to up the ante,” and show support for the robotics teams.
Each year when the students start the program, they receive a box of donated parts from New Hampshire that have to be assembled into a working robot capable of performing specific tasks. In addition to working on the project during school time many of them work on it in the evenings to get ready for the competition deadline of six weeks.
Dempsey said the reason AEP supported FIRST was because corporate headquarters had heard of the teams successes and approved.
“It is our intent to do this much every year,” Dempsey said. “We understand that this is just a fraction of what you need and we are very pleased to assist you.”
“The students and county school system are extremely grateful for this assistance,” said Vance.
In 2000, the Ralph R. Willis Career Technical Center’s FIRST Robotics team Team 337 competed in the event for the first time making a strong reputation for itself by doing well at the Nationals and heading on the the main competition itself.