The “FIRST Robotics Competition” is an organization that challenges students and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe using a standard “kit of parts” and a common set of rules. Students at Patchogue-Medford HS have participated in the “FIRST Robotics Competition” since 1998 and are currently in their 7th year of competition. The PMCT members who are advisors to the team are high school dean Kevin Ray and technology teachers Joe Daniello and Tom Kelly. The teams build robots from the parts given them and enter them in a series of competitions designed by Dean Kamen and Woodie Flowers. The competition has grown to over 1200 teams that compete in 30 regional events. Upon completion of the regional events, “The Championship” is held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta where more than 7,000 students from throughout the country participate.
The Pat-Med team has competed in regional events for all seven years and for the past 3 years has competed in the nationals in Atlanta. The Pat-Med team has had many successes including national rankings, scholarships for students and meritorious awards from multinational corporations for design, ingenuity and excellence of the robots they made. They were finalists in their division at the nationals in 2002 losing only to the alliance that eventually won the championship.
In the past, several members of the Pat-Med team have received scholarships totaling more than $100,000 that is available only to students in the “FIRST Robotics Program”. The composition of the Pat-Med team is quite diverse. Students from all grades, academic levels and interests are members of the team. Some students design and help construct the robot, while others are involved in applying for awards. Some students help with public relations and fundraising. Students with interest in electronics, computing, mechanics, pneumatics, public relations, marketing and many other areas have the opportunity to get hands-on experience as members of the team.
This year the team will compete in the Long Island Regional held at Hofstra University from March 17 to 19 with hopes of attending the Nationals in Atlanta from April 21 to 23. All the members of the Patchogue-Medford Congress of Teachers wish the Robotics team much success in their upcoming competitions.