On the 8th of February 2018, Agustin and Adam met with Mrs. Tracy Taylor, the principal of the Bruno M. Ponterio Ridge Street School, our district’s only elementary school, in order to discuss plans to begin and mentor an FLL Team with the students there. Agustin and Adam were prime choices to represent the team because of their history with the district, having attended the school themselves, and having siblings and friends currently attending. Mrs. Taylor had a few concerns, including where, when, with whom, and how the team would meet, but because our coach, Mr. Giglio, agreed to be the team’s advisor, we were able to convince Mrs. Taylor to agree to begin a 5th-grade FLL Team for the 2018-2019 school year! We agreed that it would be best to begin with a motivated group of fifth graders, mentoring them in Mr. Giglio’s Tech Lab during our Robotics Meetings. The year after it, we would keep the risen sixth graders on the team, and take in a new group of fifth graders, thereby expanding the team two include two school grades in a natural progression. In the same year, it is likely that we would take seventh and eighth graders to our High School team, and in the next two years, we would be able to include the entire Middle School in FIRST programs, granted enough interest.
These plans expand the reach of robotics education throughout our district by motivating and exposing students to a STEM education from an earlier age, and taking the initiative to learn, practice, and pursue it themselves. Having a younger and more experienced pool of incoming students promotes the success of our team in the future. We hope that we may have laid down the infrastructure for a team better than we could ever be.