On Thursday February 16, 2017, the Jaegers Robotics Team from Mogollon High School were invited to speak to the Arizona Senate Education Committee at the state capital by Senator Sylvia Allen who chairs that committee and is also Superintendent Ron Tenney’s aunt. (Always good to have an “in”, eh?) Other congressmen on the Education Committee are Senators Bradley, Brophy McGee, Miranda, Smith, Yee, and the Vice Chairman Montenegro.
Mr. Tenney spoke first about the Heber Overgaard School District relaying some information about the history of our district and the size of the student body and that we have limited resources being a small town. “Our greatest resource is our kids,” stated Mr. Tenney as he went on to introduce the students of the Jaegers Robotics Team.
Coach Wade Batson, his wife Diana Batson and family had driven to Phoenix and spent the night to be able to attend this meeting on Thursday morning. He spoke next and explained how the kids work on the robot after school and have 1500 hours into this year’s model. He relayed about last year’s accomplishment of taking the state championship and progressing to the world finals in St. Louis, MO. He mentioned, “Ah, the pressure of returning champions,” as the group on that day was looking forward to the state competition in Flagstaff on Feb. 25th.
Jeremy Batson is the team president this year. He explained to the senate panel how the robotics competitions work while showing a video of a recent event. The students then introduced themselves to the panel. Joren Andersen told the senators, “This is the best thing that ever happened to me,” referring to the robotics program. Foreign exchange student Stefano Rosciano of Italy said, “It’s very important for our futures – robots will be making hamburgers.” Stefano was asked a question from one of the senators about if programs like this one is available to him in Italy. Stefano replied that there are some things available but it’s not common there. According to Stefano, Italy doesn’t offer extracurricular activities as a rule.
Senator Allen stated that project-based learning, such as the robotics competition, involves kids and gets them excited to learn. Mr. Tenney added that the current education buzzword, “STEM”, (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) is encompassed by the robotics program as well as character building as the team learns to form and work with alliances built with other teams.
Speaking of competing, keep the Jaegers in your thoughts and prayers as they compete on Saturday, February 25th in Flagstaff for the state championship! Go Jaegers!
Better yet, you can help defray their costs by going to https://www.gofundme.com/robotics-ftc-team-8995 and donating.