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FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology

FIRST Topsite
Dean's Homework

During the FRC Kickoff, Dean Kamen offered a homework assignment to every student, every mentor, and every sponsor. The intent of Dean's "assignment" is to help elected officials learn about FIRST and its programs, as welll as to invite them to attend FIRST events.

Upper Darby High School
Robotics Team
601 N. Lansdowne Ave.
Drexel Hill PA 19026

March 2007

We, the students from Upper Darby High School in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, FIRST Robotics Team 357, are writing to you as a “homework assignment” assigned from Dean Kamen, inventor and founder of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Program who has dedicated his life to inspiring students to enter the fields of science and technology. “The mission of the Pennsylvania Department of Education is to lead and serve the educational community to enable each individual to grow into an inspired, productive, fulfilled lifelong learner.” We are asking for your support by helping to introduce a universal Robotics curriculum and dedicating funding to this program so that schools can experience the unique opportunities that FIRST provides. A copy of this letter will be posted on the FIRST website along with the representatives that it has been sent to. We look forward to your reply with ways that you will help further this mission. Your responses will in turn be posted on the FIRST website.

As an elected official, you can help to further the mission of FIRST. Each year, thousands of hours are spent towards achieving FIRST’s goal: “To create a world where science and technology are celebrated?and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes.” These students are the future of our country. There are approximately 1600 high schools that participate in FIRST, it is time that ALL high school students are afforded the opportunity to participate. In a world where sports and entertainment figures are exulted as heroes and gods, students are shown that by working hard individually and as part of a team they can accomplish anything and make a real difference. We invite you to attend one of the thirty-seven regional events around the country and the Championship Event in Atlanta, Georgia. Upper Darby High School, Team 357 will be competing in the Bayou Regional, Philadelphia Regional and Championship Event. Information regarding the 2007 challenge and all regional events can be viewed by visiting the official FIRST website at

The FIRST Robotics program challenges high school students to design, build and program a robot with the help of mentors and engineers. The robot completes a multitude of tasks in a game that changes annually. FIRST gives students the opportunity to both apply the concepts learned in the classroom and, with the assistance of mentors and industry leaders, go beyond these concepts to develop innovative solutions to interesting problems while giving back to their local communities. FIRST also provides a myriad of other activities for students to participate in, such as creating a 30 second animation, website design and maintenance (, and much more using programs that are used in everyday business. In addition to inspiring and nurturing an interest in science and technology, FIRST has partnered with numerous colleges and universities which award FIRST participants scholarships that allow them to continue their education in areas of interests learned through this program.

Teddy Roosevelt once stated that: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” Roosevelt’s quote is the basis of the Upper Darby High School Robotics Team’s main goal. Our team and the FIRST Robotics competition continually strive to “dare mighty things” not only in robot design, but in helping our community, finding ways to spread the message of FIRST and improving learning along the way. As we look back, we see that we have accomplished, and we see the incredible things that are possible through FIRST. We live each day determined to “Dare Mighty Things!”

Thank you for your time and support, we know that with your help more students will have the opportunity to participate in FIRST.

Yours sincerely,

Upper Darby High School
Robotics Team

The following individuals have replied with letters of support.

Name Position Reply Received
Dr. Gerald Zahorchak Secretary of Education, PA Accepted
Mr. Daylin Leach State Representative, PA Support
Ms. Constance H. Williams State Senator, PA Accepted
Mr. Richard Grucela State Representative, PA Support
Mr. Curt Sonney State Representative, PA Support
Mr. Bryan Lentz State Representative, PA Support
Ms. Rosemarie Swanger State Representative, PA Support
Mr. Sam Rohrer State Representative, PA Support
Mr. Duane Milne State Representative, PA Support
Mr. Mario J. Civera State Representative, PA Support
Mr. Greg Vitali State Representative, PA Support

Accepted - Official will be attending the Philadelphia regional.
Support - Official shows support for FIRST but is unable to attend the Philadelphia regional.