Herobotics Team leads the way in developing community partnerships

Over the last 10 years Henry High School’s award-winning robotics team has engaged in its mission to introduce engineering in the community with more than 160 year-round outreach events. In the last five years alone, those events generated more than 10,000 hours of community service. The Herobotics Team has also worked just as diligently at bringing the community into Henry, particularly with innovative community partnerships.

David Sylvestre, a Technology Teacher and Coordinator of the Engineering Program at Henry, highlighted the critical importance of one of those key community partners, Boston Scientific has been an extremely generous partner to Henry High and Minneapolis Public schools. They have supported students across Minnesota throughout the last decade and have provided STEM internships, scholarships, and opportunities that have positively changed student lives. In my view we couldn’t do without partnerships like Boston Scientific.”

Herobotics and Boston Scientific discovered each other in 2007. Boston Scientific was searching for opportunities to share their technical expertise as well as old fashioned sweat equity with a dynamic high school program that shared vision and passion of generating excitement for education in the community. At the time Henry was bolstering the engineering component of its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Program. Boston Scientific provided upgrades to the shop space electrical system and provided financial means to purchase drill presses and band saws.

The next year, in 2008 Boston Scientific’s role grew to include providing funds and mentors for the after-school program. They also promoted engineering via presenters and mentors in Henry’s classes. At the same time, PHHS engineering students visited the Boston Scientific site. Also since that time, 25-35 volunteers from Boston Scientific took the lead in dedicating one full day in August to beautifying the Henry High campus for staff and students prior to the first day of school. This effort grew to include Herobotics students and staff, and gardening consultants from the surrounding community.

In 2010 an advisory committee for the Herobotics Team was formed of industry experts and educational partners including Boston Scientific, Dunwoody, Medtronic, Coloplast, Ajax Precision Metal Forming and Henry staff. Since that time information is exchanged at their annual meeting to ensure current curriculum relates to industry standards. Student internships and scholarships are also developed from the planning of this group.

From the very beginning of the partnership Boston Scientific has faithfully provided timely substantial financial support for Henry’s Herobotics Team such as funding for travel to international competitions as well as providing support to create a maker space and practice fields for Minneapolis middle school and high school FIRST Robotics teams. 

Jessica Aleshire, with the Global Community Engagement division of Boston Scientific, sees the relationship with Henry as win-win for both groups, “The partnership between Boston Scientific and Patrick Henry High School has been terrific. As a global company, we aim to inspire a diverse future generation of innovators to help advance possibilities in science. Our investment in supporting the Henry High School Herobotics team and other STEM opportunities at the school has been mutually rewarding, as we’re seeing some of these recent graduates go on to pursue degrees in science and engineering, with some of them even joining us at Boston Scientific as college interns.”

In addition to Boston Scientific, Herobotics 2017 partners included: The Bakken Museum, Carlson Advisors LLP, Coloplast, Cummins Power, Dunwoody College of Technology, E.J. Ajax and Sons, General Mills, General Power, Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys, GOFIRST (University of Minnesota), Install This Sign and Awning Co., Loram Maintenance of Way and Minneapolis Community Technical College.

Minneapolis Public Schools recognizes the critical role that these community partners play in educating our students. Henry students also access the resources and expertise of the following community partners: Achieve!Minneapolis, Beacons Boys and Girls Club & Neighborhood Involvement Program, Big Brothers Big Sisters, College  Possible, Education Talent Search, Family and Children Services, Get Ready, Girls in Action, HIRED, Hmong Women’s Circle, Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, LDA of Minnesota, MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Minnesota Urban Debate League, Northern Star Council-Boy Scouts of America & Opus Architects & Engineers, Project Success, TCF Bank, TRIO Upward Bound-UMN, Youth Coordinating Board and the YWCA Contact Plus Program.

Written by Susan Breedlove and Tom Murray