Pittsburg, CA – – Always looking for new ways to spark students’ interest in engineering and science, Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation is sponsoring Heritage High School’s participation in the 2009-10 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge. This is the first time the Brentwood, CA high school, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, will participate in the competition known for fostering students’ interest in science and technology.
Founded in 1989, FIRST has brought the energy and fanfare of a sporting event to science and technology via robotics competitions. In 2005, the group launched its FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) program, providing a more accessible and cost-effective way for high school students to discover the excitement of technology, science and engineering. Teams of 10 students, working with a coach and mentor, receive a Competition Kit, which they will use to build their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation contributed some of the funds needed for Heritage High School to purchase their Competition Kit. The company also paid for the school’s registration in the 2010 Northern California Tournament. Each year in April, regional and international competitions lead up to the Championship, where the FTC teams compete.
The upcoming competition is a new opportunity for Heritage High School, and is just one aspect of their groundbreaking engineering/technology program that focuses on robotics design and development. Business Technology instructor Robert Pardi, who spent 14 years at a neighboring high school that twice sent teams to the FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC), is now at the helm of Heritage High School’s robotics engineering program. Determined to build an offshoot robotics program and get Heritage High School students involved in FIRST competitions, Pardi this year assembled a Robotics Club of nearly 10 students. These are the students who will design and build the robot that will compete in the FTC beginning this Fall.
“These kinds of activities directly benefit and change kids’ lives,” Pardi says. “Without support from the community and businesses, many kids would not have these experiences.”
Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation previously sponsored FRC but decided this year to focus its efforts on helping a single high school enter the competition. Their continued involvement with FIRST is part of a long tradition. Nearly 40 years ago, Bud Wisecarver, founder of Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation, began a life-long commitment to youth programs related to education, engineering, manufacturing and science.
Pardi describes the FIRST experience as “phenomenal,” and says it gives students an outlet for their advanced math and science skills. The competition, which requires students to speak to judges and other teams, also provides a way for students to improve their communication skills.
“We are very proud to be a sponsor of Heritage High School in their FIRST Technology Challenge efforts,” says Pamela Kan, President of Bishop-Wisecarver. “Our involvement at a local level gives us the opportunity to promote innovation and encourage and engage the engineers of the future.”
The company’s sponsorship of the school’s FTC aspirations is part of Pardi’s big picture plans.
“I am trying to build a robotics program at this school,” he says. “With Bishop-Wisecarver’s help it will be possible.”