King's High School Robotics qualify for 2017 STEM Equity Community Innovation grant

Monday, March 13, 2017

Students from King’s High School robotics team, CyberKnights FRC 4911,
promoting Unified Robotics at Microsoft’s #UpgradeYourGame event:

Photos from King's Schools

FRC Team 4911 CyberKnights, a robotics team from King’s High School, is proud to announce they have qualified for the 2017 STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant awarded by FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

This grant adds to FIRST’s commitment to address the inequities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) among underrepresented and underserved students.

King’s student partner Joy Mogg and Ballard High School student athlete, Justice Jaeger

This grant is designed to help ensure that more of these students, and their communities, are exposed to creative problem-solving and hands-on learning, and are educated about future career opportunities available to them.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that although STEM jobs are expected to grow at a rate of nearly double that of other fields, around 1.2 million such positions will be unfilled by 2018 because of a lack of applicable skills in the U.S. workforce.

The CyberKnights, partnering with Special Olympics, are requesting $25,000 to fund the growth of Unified Robotics, a robotics program that provides STEM opportunities to students with and without intellectual disabilities.

The program, founded in 2015 by King’s High School student, Delaney Foster, is now part of the Special Olympics Unified Sports program. 
The program has grown from six teams and 24 students in Washington State to 56 teams and 350 students in four states in just one year.

Interest is flooding in from schools around the US and from India, Israel and the UK.

Teams competing in Unified Robotics Championship

The grant will be used to help more schools start Unified Robotics teams by providing:
  • LEGO EV3 Kits for building the robot
  • Laptops or Microsoft Surfaces for programming the robot
  • Team uniforms and supplies
  • Practice fields
  • Competition costs

Unified Robotics Championship event

“The demand from students wanting to start Unified Robotics at their schools is overwhelming,” said Andrew LaPrade, King’s High School junior and CyberKnights CEO. 
“While we have a great network of mentors and coaches through Special Olympics, this grant will allow us to offset the cost so more schools can participate in the 2017 season.”

The CyberKnights have immediate plans to expand Special Olympics Unified Robotics to every school district in Washington State where the special needs population averages about 13% per school. They plan to work together with other FIRST teams including Mt. Vernon High School in Mt. Vernon, Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish, and Central Valley High School in Spokane. 

Together, they want to ensure every school in Washington is aware of the opportunity to reach this underrepresented community and has access to support through this grant.

“By partnering with other FIRST robotics teams in Washington State, and eventually around the world, we are hopeful that Special Olympics Unified Robotics will be in every school district worldwide”, said LaPrade.

FIRST will provide funds to up to 15 communities in the United States and Canada. All communities will be notified by May 31, 2017.

Volunteer Judges Senator Joe Fain and City of Seattle Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller

Learn more about Special Olympics Unified Robotics on their website.

The CyberKnights seek to inspire an interest and passion for science and technology while preparing students to become industry leaders in tomorrow’s competitive global marketplace. The King’s High School’s award-winning robotics program serves as an educational community within King’s Schools as well as FIRST ® Robotics.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization that seeks to further education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields and provide an environment in which students can grow academically and acquire skills vital to their professional development such as an exceptional work ethic and problem-solving skills.

Starting in 2009 in FIRST Tech Challenge with eight students, the CyberKnights have inspired over 10% of the K-12 students to participate in FIRST programs. CyberKnights Alumni have gone on to pursue fields in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and return to invest in the program as mentors for the current team. The team continues to develop its members in leadership, collaboration, and communication skills.


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