Saturday, April 16, 2005

April 16, 2005 -------- Update

April 16, 2005 -------- Update
This has been a busy few weeks for the Carl Hayden Robotics Club. The April Wired article “La Vida Robot” which highlighted four of our students has produced an outpouring of support for the four kids as well as congratulations for Fredi Lajvardi, Sam Alexander and myself. We will see where this all leads.

Right now we are packing for our trip to Atlanta for the FIRST robotics championship. A few weeks ago we competed in Arizona and we were awarded the highest award, the Chairman’s Award:

“The FIRST Robotics Competition is about much more than the mechanics of building a robot or winning a competitive event. It is about the impact FIRST has on those who participate in the program and the impact of FIRST on the community at large. The FIRST mission is to change the way America’s young people regard science and technology and to inspire an appreciation for the real-life rewards and career opportunities in these fields.
The Chairman’s Award was created to keep the central focus of the FIRST Robotics Competition as our ultimate goal for transforming the culture in ways that will inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology, as well as encourage more of today’s youth to become scientists, engineers, and technologists.
The Chairman’s Award represents the spirit of FIRST. It honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and which embodies the goals and purpose of FIRST. It remains the most prestigious team award FIRST presents.”

We are departing Phoenix this Wednesday with 13 students and a few chaperones. Josh Davis, the author of the Wired article and friend, will meet us there. I think there will be some other media coverage there also. I will email our experiences when we are in Atlanta.

Speaking of media, we have received quite a few movie offers. I’m thrilled to report Warner Brothers has bought the rights to the ROV story. They plan to make a feature theatrical film. The producer is John Wells (or West Wing, E.R.) The current game around school is who should play everyone. (I think Sean Connery should play me. “Cameron, Allan Cameron”. It will take years, but what a surrealistic experience.

For those who have been asking about the four kids: I think they will all get the higher education they wish. They have received over $44,000 in scholarship money to split and many offers of assistance. Most likely they will choose local community colleges and/or Arizona State University. I know they will be successful because they have hundreds (if not thousands) of people encouraging them. Their world has expanded a hundredfold.

A lot of people ask what they can do to help. The article mentions the “Dream Act”, federal legislation that is introduced every year that allows undocumented children who have been in the U.S for years and graduate from high school and have no criminal record to apply for temporary residency. If they go to college or the military, they can become permanent residents. It will take a lot of people writing to their congressman encouraging them to support the bill. These kids already are Americans. They were brought to the U.S. by their parents; they attended our school, play baseball, join the Scouts and most go to church every week. As young adults they will get married, have children and will be contributing to our society. These are exactly the people we want to belong in our neighborhoods, not drive them away.

This morning, National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition, Saturday” played an interview with us. Susan Stamberg interviewed us and it can be heard at:

We are building our current ROV to compete in the June MATE ROV competition in June. Not only will we be competing against MIT, but aobotics and Artificial Intelligence powerhouse, Carnegie Mellon University will be joining the competition.

I should be sending the next report from Atlanta, GA. Thanks for all your support.


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