SBPLI-LI FIRST Supports Fifth Annual Deer Park Invitational Postseason Event

Competition Showcases Benefits of Robotics Programs on Students, Community

With school districts managing rising costs and tighter budgets, important programs face cuts or elimination. The School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI) is highlighting the importance of middle school and high school robotics programs with its support of the Fifth Annual Deer Park Invitational. The post-season robotics competition is to be held in the gymnasium at Deer Park High School on Saturday, October 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

School robotics programs immerse youngsters in the science of physics and the field of engineering. They provide an enjoyable, engaging learning environment and they enhance problem solving skills, cooperation and teamwork.

The Invitational is designed to showcase the benefits of robotics programs on students, schools and their communities. Residents, teachers and administrators from Deer Park and other Long Island school districts are invited to attend.

"The competition is not just about the design and building of sophisticated robots. These students also develop maturity, professionalism, teamwork and mentoring skills that enrich their lives," said Fred Breithut, Founder/President, SBPLI. "Many of our students develop an affinity for their science and math courses, go on to study engineering, technology or science in college."

Teams from eleven high schools - including one from Queens County - have entered the competition thus far: Deer Park, Hauppauge, Patchogue-Medford, Sachem, Grady (Queens), Malverne, Miller Place, Smithtown, Baldwin, Lindenhurst and Southold.

Participating teams will be using the robots they built for the 2009 LI FIRST Regional competition, which was held at Hofstra University in March. At the event, students will program their robots, some weighing as much as 135 pounds, to pick up 9-inch game balls and score them in trailers hitched to their opponents' robots for points during a 2-minute, 15-second match. Additional points are awarded for scoring a special game ball, the Super Cell, in the opponents' trailers during the last 20 seconds of the match. Qualifying rounds will take place in the morning, and elimination rounds will follow in the afternoon. The playing field is covered with a white slippery covering to reflect the moon's gravity.

"We also would like to invite potential rookie teams to join us, work with veteran teams, and have the opportunity to drive a robot to give them a feel for the program which they would not otherwise have," said William Hodrinsky, Director of the LI FIRST Robotics Program.

For more information on the Deer Park Invitational, or to find out how to register a team for the competition, call Chuck Burg of Deer Park High School at (631) 274-4100. For more information about SBPLI and the FIRST Robotics Competition, call (631) 692-2962.