SUSD board member issues challenge to fund high schools’ robotics trip

Next week, the Chaparral High School and Desert Mountain High School robotics teams head to Houston, Texas to compete in the 2017 FIRST robotics world championship competition.

In the midst of their preparations, the teams are looking for ways to pay to ship their robots to Houston and travel to the competition, for which both teams only recently qualified, according to a press release.

Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board Vice President Pam Kirby thinks she has come up with a way to do that.

Pam Kirby

“I am issuing a challenge to the SUSD community, and to the Chaparral and Desert Mountain communities, in particular, to dig into their pockets to raise the estimated $50,000 it will take to send the Firebirds and Wolves robotics teams to Houston, “ said Ms. Kirby, in the press release.

“There’s not much time – the teams leave next Tuesday, April 18 — so I have decided to match whatever is raised, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000. The governing board and I speak all the time about putting students first and celebrating the strong academic offerings of our schools. If this isn’t an example of that, I don’t know what is.”

The Scottsdale Charros have set up a page on their website,, through which members of the public can make tax-deductible donations to the teams.

The Charros will pay for any credit card fees and administrative costs associated with making a contribution, so that 100 percent of a person’s online donation will go to the two schools’ robotics teams, the release stated.

Ms. Kirby said if more is raised than the teams need for the Houston competition, the excess will be divided equally between all five SUSD high school robotics teams.

“What these students achieve is remarkable, and we need to support them.  Many thanks to the Charros for providing us with an easy way to do that,” Ms. Kirby stated in the press release.

More than 400 teams from around the world will take part in the Houston FIRST competition, including teams from North, Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, China and Australia. FIRST also offers college scholarships, from which past SUSD robotics students have benefited.

“The Scottsdale Charros congratulate our robotics’ students, teachers and coaches for their outstanding success in the Western Regional Competition and their invitation to attend the FRC World Competition in Houston,” said Rick Carpinelli, Scottsdale Charro Education Chairman, in the press release.  “Scottsdale Schools are a leader in our state in Robotics, and the Charros are proud to provide a mechanism to help fund these very successful STEM programs.”

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