February 3, 2018 was busy for President Glover, EWC students and the Teacher Education Department STEAM Coordinator as they participated in the FIRST LEGO League Northeast Florida Regional Championship. The championship was held in the Prime Osborn Convention Center with over 1500 participants. Robotics teams from throughout the state attended. Three division of Robotics participated. Starting with the little children participating in the FIRST LEGO League Jr (K-3 kids) Middle school students (FLL), Senior high school students competed in FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) State Championship teams using 18” robots. Teams competed for bids to the State Championship (right here in Jacksonville in April), and then to LEGOLAND California International Open in Carlsbad, California.
Efforts by many supporters produced winning teams in underrepresented such as females and Africa Americans. The only local minority winning team hails from the BEST Academy of The Bethel Baptist Institutional Church. STEM research reveals that women interest and participation is increasing as witnessed by the number of all girl robotics teams in the Regional Competition. However, participation by Black students continues
to fall below National guidelines. Churches are encouraged to form teams or support teams within our community. For example, S.P. Livingston Elementary School through Principal Robert Gresham Sr. conducts a quarterly Stem Night for parents of his VPK through 2 grade students. Mr. Gresham also hosted elementary schools teachers from R.V. Daniels (Ms. Lashawn Caldwell,
Principal) and Rufus Payne (Mrs. Weisha Killette, Principal) to participate in a CODE.org workshop as a precursor to building Robotics after school teams. Edward Waters College‘s Department of Teacher Education continues to prepare future teaches in STEM as a means of educating our community to move forward in STEM skill careers.