PAYING IT FORWARD by Meghan Ross
Team 1218 mentors Justin Xin ’19 (3rd from left), Dominique Regli ’20 (4th from left), and Corinne Motl ’20 (5th from left) check on the progress of FLL team members.
SCH Robotics Students Pass On Their Passion and Inspire Other Young People about STEM successful in the workforce and knew that technology, coding in particular, was a good avenue to do so. With this in mind, they reached out to SCH in 2017, and a partnership was formed. Now on Tuesday afternoons in the fall, a group of five or six SCH students travel to PSD where they are paired with Middle School students. Together, they work on the annual FIRST LEGO League (FLL) challenge in preparation for the tournament, which is hosted by SCH each December.
Every student is a mentor. This affirmation in the SCH robotics program’s mission inspires students on the Upper School robotics team to share their enthusiasm, not just with the younger SCH teams, but with groups outside the school as well. Taking their passion on the road, SCH Team 1218 students have developed partnerships in the community, one in Mt. Airy and the other at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD). Through these partnerships, our students pass on what they have learned to younger students in an effort to spread interest and excitement about robotics and, more broadly, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
Ben Fu ’20, who has been working with PSD students for two years now, says he didn’t really know what to expect the first day he visited the school. Interpreters help the two groups communicate with each other, but Ben recalls he was surprised by how emotional and expressive the kids are when they sign.
“The goal of the robotics program is to have the best STEM available to kids wherever they are, not just to have the best STEM at SCH,” reflects Upper School physics teacher Alissa Sperling, who accompanies the SCH students on their outreach excursions. “We are collaborative in our approach.”
“I’ve gotten to know a new community and to learn how brilliant these kids are,” says Ben. “The FLL experience provides an opportunity to discover some fundamentals about engineering, and it’s low risk. It’s just LEGO pieces, but you still learn a lot,
PSD had been working on positioning their students to be school magazine spring