Two teams from Salesian Boys & Girls Club participated in the FIRST Lego League Challenge robotics competition in Temple City on Saturday, November 14. The 8 kids, divided equally between boys and girls teams, performed exceedingly well in both robot demonstration and presentation elements of the competition, impressing the judges with their creativity and ability to think on their feet.
"Both teams did a great job, especially considering the limited time they had to prepare," said robotics coach Steven Sarmiento. "They seemed very encouraged by the experience and anxious to get back to learning and building better robots!"
Special thanks to Jennifer Martucci of FIRST Vista, will.i.am’s I.AM.ANGEL Foundation, and the event sponsors for providing our kids with this opportunity!
Brother Tom Mass from Salesian Boys and Girls Club is interviewed to discuss how & why Cyber Patriot fits into his club’s mission. Ray Aragon at Cisco Systems discusses how the Cyber Patriot students play it like a sport and how the competitive element drives kids to learn harder. Uncle Jimmy introduces a “medium” challenge for Week 9 of Uncle Jimmy’s Challenges. Aunt Edith guides the “newbies” to cybersecurity.
The Club joined forces with i.am.angel Foundation and Hacker Fund to sponsor its first code event as an integral part of what the Club offers our students everyday: an opportunity for meaningful growth.
Some 25 technology mentors (aka, professional hackers) gathered together wearing their one-piece pajamas, costume hats, and hoodies for the 24-hour event at the Club in Boyle Heights. The 75 participating LAUSD high school students did not attend the event to get a job, accomplish a school project, or do service hours. They left the comfort of their homes during Christmas vacation to learn from experts, network with other students, experience new technology, create useful projects, and, if needed, sleep on the hardwood floor of the gym.
Students learned about 3D printing through creating a project using CAD (computer aided design), sending the data to one of the six available 3D printers, setting up the material, and then watching their creations being built before their eyes. Students built their own web pages and created apps with the guidance of the mentors. Whether engineering high tech Christmas ornaments or programming for Oculus Rift (yes, there were 4 sets of these virtual reality headsets!), the students had the opportunity to learn and experience technology as creators and not mere consumers.
“Here at the Club,” says Director Br. Tom, “we get excited about these events because it really transforms students’ lives. Most students have never heard of a coding event and now they are part of a bigger movement around technology.” Inspiring young people to do great things is the mission of the Club. The Club is blessed with such an incredible opportunity to inspire students to transform the world through technology. Don Bosco would be proud of these students!!