Mayor Michael A. Nutter visited Central High School to congratulate the RoboLancers, the magnet school’s student-run robotics team which will compete at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) World Championship, a national robotics design, building and programming competition, in St. Louis next week.
“I was proud to see first-hand the robot, a truly innovative and creative piece of technology, that the RoboLancers built. The commitment to learning and bettering themselves that this diverse and tremendously talented group has is truly commendable,” said Mayor Nutter. “Programs that inspire student success, development and independent learning, like the RoboLancers, deserve our support. A lack of funding should never prevent a Philadelphia student from experiencing an opportunity of a life-time or being exposed to a future career. I want to wish the RoboLancers much success at the World Championship and praise them for raising the money to keep this invaluable learning program going at their school.”
During his visit, Mayor Nutter met with several members of the RoboLancers 112-person team. The team, which designed and built a 120-pound robot for the FIRST World Championship, demonstrated the robot’s capabilities for Mayor Nutter.
The RoboLancers are one of 609 FIRST Robotics Competition Teams to advance to the World Championship. The team was one of two selected from 122 competing in the Mid-Atlantic Region, winning the Chairman’s Award, which is the FIRST competition’s highest honor and is awarded to the team that most exemplifies the spirit of FIRST and its work to promote science and technical education among high school students.
The RoboLancers, an extra-curricular activity that receives no funding from the School District of Philadelphia, raised $30,000 this year to fund its annual budget. To compete in the World Championship, the team needed to raise an additional $35,000. Yesterday, Mayor Nutter announced that he had asked for and Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania had donated $20,000 each to the RoboLancers, fully funding the team’s trip to the World Championship.
The RoboLancers champion science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in our public schools and have become a shining example of what students in a challenging urban setting can do when given the opportunity. Since its founding in 1999, the RoboLancers have grown from five students to a multi-faceted program of more than 112 students. It is now the largest extracurricular activity at Central High School, one of Philadelphia’s most academically rigorous public magnet schools.