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Page 46 of 105

IPC COMMUNITY 47 FALL 2023 The Freeland Fabricators is the FIRST Robot- ics program there. In this school district, the FIRST teams are under a single umbrella of mentorship. I am one of more than two dozen mentors alongside a very dedicated group of coaches who work with students of all ages. There are nearly 90 students par- ticipating in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) for elemen- tary school, FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) for mid- dle school, and the FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC) for high school. In 2019, when my son was a sixth grader, he joined one of the school's FTC robotics teams. This sparked for him an interest in programming, science, and engi- neering. Unfortunately, the 2020-21 season was lost due to the pandemic, however, he contin- ued his advancement by taking several online programming classes. The following year, we were back in per- son and the prog r a m ' s g r o w t h e x p l o d e d among students and mentors. My son joined the FTC team as an eighth grader and my daughter, a junior, helped with mentoring and volun- teering. The successes of this season created an inconceivable momen- tum within the program. The programs con- tinued to grow in the last school year. Both my s o n a n d d a u g h- ter joined the FRC high school team, and all three of us mentored the five FLL and two FTC teams. The Fabricators' 2022-23 season was quite successful for all teams. This was the first season veteran stu- dents mentored the younger teams and that created an explosion of interest; we had four rookie teams. The successes of this season created an inconceivable momentum within the program.

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