On Saturday, Jan. 6, students from Mineola High School and Wheatley High School competed in the 2018 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition at the Jacob Javits Lecture Center at Stony Brook University. The FIRST Robotics Competition teams from across Long Island gathered in anticipation of learning about the forthcoming season’s robotics competition.
Knowing only that this year’s theme is “FIRST POWERUP”, the local FIRST teams and the more than 3,000 teams around the world, received this year’s game rules via NASA satellite transmission from FIRST headquarters in New Hampshire. During the Long Island Kick Off, School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI), which presented the event, also held a special informational session for parents of participating students, during which they learned about the organization, its mission and the importance of the robotics programs. Students and parents were also treated to presentations from alumni, mentors and sponsors regarding the impact of the program on the local communities and businesses. Towards the end of the event, each team collected its kit of parts to construct a 120-pound robot over the six-week design and build period leading up to the FIRST Robotics Competition tournaments.
Following last year’s record-breaking registration for the SBPLI Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, the organization will now be hosting two regional tournaments across two sets of consecutive dates. Planned as a double header, these back-to-back regionals will be held April 9 to 11 and April 12 to 14, at Hofstra University’s David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex. Each event will serve as a separate regional, with different teams competing in separate alliances and tournament rounds. Some of the teams set to participate in the local regionals will move on to compete at the 2018 FIRST Championship in Detroit.
Leading up to the regionals, SBPLI students will work with engineering mentors to apply concepts of math and science learned in the classroom to build their robots. Students will also learn important concepts such as teamwork, problem solving and healthy competition. Many SBPLI students use these skills while pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies and careers.
Over the years, FIRST students from Long Island received millions of dollars in scholarships for higher education. This year, students participating in FIRST will have access to more than $50 million worth of scholarships.
“We are very excited to get our 2018 season underway and are looking forward to another great kick-off event,” said Larry Toonkel, newly appointed co-director, FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST Long Island. “With two regionals in the works, we know that this year will be an especially pivotal one for SBPLI and STEM education on Long Island. In addition to making it now possible for all Long Island districts to join our family, our hope for the future of the SBPLI Long Island Regionals is that more teams from across the state, nation and world will be able to compete at one or both of our events each year.”