High school students to attend FIRST Robotics Competition kick-off at Bradley

January 4, 2012

(Peoria, IL - January 4, 2012) Thirteen teams of high school students from Illinois and Iowa will attend the kick-off of the 2012 FIRST Robotics competition on January 7 in the Renaissance Coliseum on the campus of Bradley University.

The kick-off event, involving more than 300 students, will begin at 9 a.m. and will include televised remarks from FIRST founder Dean Kamen via NASA TV. A sample competition practice field will be unveiled in the Coliseum during the program. The kick-off event is sponsored by Caterpillar Inc. and hosted by Bradley University’s College of Engineering and Technology.

FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is an organization dedicated to motivating the next generation to understand, use, and enjoy science and technology. Kamen, president of DEKA Research & Development Corporation, as well as an inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology, founded the organization in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people.

Teams will receive a kit of parts made up of motors, batteries, a control system, a PC and a mix of automation components – but no instructions. Working with mentors, students have six weeks to design, build, program and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. They will then compete in one of 53 regional events. Winners move on to the championship that will be held in St. Louis on April 25 through 28. Nearly 60,000 high school students worldwide are expected to participate in the competition.

The mission of FIRST is 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, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from many Fortune 500 companies and more than $14 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts competitions for both grade and high school students.

Teams participating in the kick-off event at Bradley University are:
Robot Casserole – Richwoods High School, Peoria
Argos – Limestone Community High School, Bartonville
D.E.R.T. – Dunlap High School, Dunlap
Icarus – Notre Dame High School, Peoria
Roboteers – Tremont High School, Tremont
M/W ARS – Metamora Township High School
Ctrl-Z – Champaign, Illinois
Team Cyclones – Sacred Heart Griffin, Springfield, Illinois
Knox County FRC – Knox County, Illinois
MetalCow – Bloomington-Normal, Illinois
SUL – Springfield, Illinois
HTA – Tech Academy, Decatur, Illinois
Team Neutrino – Ames, Iowa