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Mentor hopes to start a robotics team

Enumclaw parent Corey Cassell recently attended the FIRST Robotic Challenge at Mount Lake Terrace High School and found it so engaging, he’s started the legwork to start and mentor a team on the Plateau.

“The excitement was very contagious,” Cassell said of the approximately 500 students and mentors who were gathered for the event.

FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. It’s a nonprofit organization formed by an inventor, entrepreneur and science and technology advocate who wanted to feed and inspire young people’s interest and participation.

According to Cassell, FIRST offers a four different levels of participation for kids; the Junior FIRST Lego League for kids from kindergarten through third grade; FIRST Lego League for kids in fourth to eighth grade; the FIRST tech challenge, a kit-based prototype level of robotics competition for thinkers ages 14 to 18 and FIRST Robotics Challenge, the highest level of competition for ages 14 to 18.

The long-range goal, Cassell said, would be support for all levels of FIRST robotics programs. He said the robot projects have many facets that might not be obvious on the surface, including public relations, Web development, community service, business management, and of course math, science, computer technology, engineering and design.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to teach kids how to work on a team, learn high tech skills, apply math, science and physics principles and compete at something where they have about an 80 percent chance of turning pro,” Cassell noted.

To see the program in action go to www.usfirst.org.

Cassell is collecting nam-es and taking the first steps to create a robotics team of Enumclaw and White River elementary, middle and high school students. For information, contact Cassell at 360-825-0772

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