Henry’s Herobotics Team captures Chairman’s Award from FIRST Robotics

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This article was written by Jared Voight, Susan Breedlove, Tom Murray, LaToya Grier and David Sylvestre

The Herobotics Team of Patrick Henry High recently competed at the Minnesota 10,000 Lakes Regional with other teams from Minnesota, the U.S. and the Czech Republic. Following two fun days of competition, the team ended up ranked 15th out of 63 teams, and even made it into the playoffs!

The biggest success of that competition, however, was winning the Regional Chairman’s Award. According to FIRST Robotics, “The Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award at FIRST [For Inspiration, Respect, Science and Technology], it honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the mission of FIRST. It was created to keep the central focus of FIRST Robotics Competition on the ultimate goal of transforming the culture in ways that will inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology, as well as encouraging more of today’s youth to become science and technology leaders.”

Henry Herobotics has been recognized for their outstanding work in spreading the FIRST mission statewide, nationally and globally. They’ve worked to keep moving forward through adversity, striving to both change the face of STEM (Science, Technology, English and Math), and give underrepresented, urban youth the tools for the future. The team has done this in numerous ways:

*Founded the Minneapolis Urban Robotics Alliance (MURA), which includes 21 robotics teams from across the city. This coalition:  Promotes the sustainability and success of urban robotics teams, increasing access to STEM programs for urban youth; secured funding and space for a full-sized robotics practice facility (MURA Field) at the Lincoln School building, serving teams from all across the metro area; and extended our urban sustainability initiative nationally.

*The team created the American Urban Robotics Alliance (AURA), which includes 10 teams from six cities across the country (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Harlem, San Diego, Lee’s Summit, MO, Auroura, IL, and Olathe, KS), working together to share resources and tools for success.

*Herobotics featured the FIRST program through extensive outreach efforts: 10,000+ hours of outreach conducted by team members in last five years; presented at 170+ events in the last five years; and reached an audience of more than 100,000 through continued annual presence at events in last five years.

*Supporting growth of the FIRST Robotics Competition in Japan. Former PHHS Exchange Student Kanon Nakajima was a member of Herobotics during her exchange year. She returned home and formed the third high school team in Japan, 6909 SAKURA Tempesta. Through Herobotics guidance and mentorship, they advanced to the FIRST World Championship in their rookie year, and they took home the Chairman’s Award at their regional competition in Hawaii!  Kanon and her 6909 SUKARA Tempesta teammates also had the opportunity to connect with numerous notable figures including FIRST Robotics founder Dean Kamen, Chiaki Mukai (Japan’s first female astronaut) and Malala Yousafzai (youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner).

*Herobotics promoted diversity and inclusion in STEM and was a recipient of a FIRST grant in 2016, enabling them to create FIRST TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGE teams in North Minneapolis at Franklin, Henry, Northeast and Olson Schools, granting robotics opportunities to more than 50 under-represented youth.

Coming Up:

Henry High’s Herobotics is excited to have the opportunity to compete for the 10th time at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Detroit, Michigan from April 24 to April 27! It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of all of our supporters, community and corporate partners, and alumni over the years!

2019 Herobotics Membership Students are: Toby Beck, John Becker, Jamin Eisenberg, Skyler Ihejerika, Andy Johnson, Graham Kirwin, Duncan Kleinsasser, Isabella Luna, Roberto Luna, Britta Pearson, Elvin (Daniel) Hernandez Rosas, Ke’La Scuefield, Yanyua Vue, Meah Reyes-Wilson and Cher Xiong.

Alumni Mentors: Van Kirwin, Jesse Ulm, Jonathan Ulm, Jake Voight, Jared Voight, Brieana Watson, Noah Wrolson and retired mentor David Sylvestre.

Mentors: Lead: Latoya Grier, Dylan Miracle, Jack Skogen and Julie Voight.

2019 Season Partners: Coloplast, Boston Scientific, Seagate, LB Carlson, LLP, Siwek Lumber, Big Bob’s Flooring Outlet, Install This Sign and Awning Co., Shingle Creek Neighborhood Association, Minneapolis Public Schools Career and Technical Education, Patrick Henry High School Booster Club, Patrick Henry High School Foundation, Patrick Henry High School.

For more info go to FIRSTInspires.org or call Henry High at 612-668-2000.