I am a volunteer at Walker-Jones Education Campus. The extraordinary news is our FIRST Robotics team won the Core Values Award at our local FIRST tournament AND is advancing to the State Championship in Harrisonburg, Virginia!!! The thought of such a thing NEVER entered our minds. For the past three days reality has been slowly sinking in and I have a couple of huge concerns: safety and funding.
Our Team: We have ten students in 4th ~ 6th Grades. We have six girls and four boys. We have two experienced team members and eight children who are new to robotics. We built our robot with LEGOs and have programed it to run two missions in a local competition. We’re hoping to add a few more before the next tournament.
The FIRST Youth Protection Policy states: 2 – 4 students in a room, same gender and no adults unless they are a parent. This sounds good, but not really in our reality. I really can’t imagine three rooms of children in a hotel, two hours away from home. This doesn’t really seem safe. Ideally, I would like to offer our parents an opportunity to come along and witness first hand 100 teams participating in the FIRST Virginia State Tournament.
Second problem ~ finance. Our school does not really have extra money for such an expense for ten students. We really do not have a PTO. We are reaching out to central office but that doesn’t seem to be working out and I can not imagine funding being able to work through the DCPS system in less than three weeks.
A little more background ~ we have some outstanding parents but traveling by car is not what we do best. Taking off work for three days to attend is probably going to be difficult. Chipping in even $50 is probably not possible. They will all want to help but . . .
Traveling back and forth is not really possible because of the schedule ~ early morning competitions and distance.
Therefore; we are reaching out for your support for funds to hire a bus with a professional driver, registration fees, hotels costs, meals and $10 spending money for each team member. This is a huge honor and opportunity ~ we want to go to Harrisonburg, VA . I feel this is important because it could be a life altering experience for our students. We need your support.