The Center School Robotics Team participants in an annual national robotics competition and celebration where teams win recognition, gain self confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path.
The Center School, a private, non-profit, state-accredited facility for bright, learning-disabled students is only the 2nd special education program IN THE NATION to begin a FIRST Robotics team for their high school students. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology: www.usfirst.org). The FIRST program was conceptualized by Dean Kamen, a research scientist in the robotics field, to “create a world where science and technology are celebrated… where young people dream of being science and technology heroes.”
The success of The Center School Bulldogs-Team 4281, is due in part to the support of volunteers, professional mentors and community support. Many hours are dedicated, by the students and the mentors, to the creation and building of a competitive robot through electrical, mechanical and computer engineering. Students also dedicate time towards web design, marketing, fundraising and advertising. This program offers a great opportunity to the students for unmatched pre-engineering experience, as well as other career paths. Through this innovative program, students build self-confidence, knowledge, team work, and life skills that will help motivate them to pursue endless opportunities in science, technology and engineering disciplines.
The rookie program has been supported through the students’ fundraising efforts which included a successful Applebee’s Breakfast, donations solicited from local businesses, as well as grants awarded through NASA, JCPenney, IE Dupont and The Center School Foundation.
Team 4281 competes annually in regional competitions, in hopes of advancing to the national championship, as well as post season tournaments. They work side-by-side with many seasoned teams, and enjoy the benefits of alliances in different levels of the competitions.