Penn State Extension Centre County 4-H was selected to start a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC®) Team in 2012, when it earned a “highest rookie seed” award. During the following years the team focused on building a committed group of students, mentors, and community sponsors in an effort to improve our performance in FRC and expand into other STEM areas. The students have participated in a variety of other robotics events, including autonomous sumo and battle bots, and participated in local educational and outreach activities.
During the 2018 season our FRC team won our first ever blue banners, including victories at the Greater Pittsburgh Regional and the FIRST Robotics Championships in Detroit. We were proud to be the first team from Pennsylvania to ever be part of a World Championship winning alliance!
The past few seasons have also brought tremendous growth, as we have expanded beyond our original roots as a small high school FRC team. In the 2019-2020 season we will be entering 5 total FIRST clubs including FIRST Lego League and FIRST Tech Challenge squads. Expanding to include these clubs means we now have a continuous progression of programs for students from 4th-12th grade, with more than 80 students from across the county currently participating.
As the largest youth development organization in the nation, 4-H educates students about agriculture, the environment, creative arts, healthy living, science and technology, and business and citizenship. The 4-H’s are Head, to represent managing and thinking; Heart, which portrays relating and caring; Hands, which symbolize giving and working; and Health, for being and living. There are currently over 6 million students from elementary through high school who, as 4-H’ers, follow the mottos “learning by doing” and “to make the best better.” These students are instructed by certified adult volunteers and strive to serve and engage in their communities.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international youth organization founded by Dean Kamen and Woodie Flowers in 1989. Since then, FIRST has been inspiring students to pursue careers in engineering and technology while teaching teamwork and leadership expressed through the philosophy of Coopertition and Gracious Professionalism. Centre County 4-H Robotics participates in three different levels of FIRST competitions, FIRST Lego League, FIRST Tech Challenge, and the FIRST Robotics Competition.