SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Well before building their robot, South Plainfield High School’s Tiger Tech Robotics Team –  a FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) team – has already hit the ground running this school year.

Over the summer, members of the 2014-2015 team offered community outreach assistance for Camp Invention and also participated in South Plainfield’s ‘Christmas in July’ and Labor Day events. Since the start of this school year, members have served as guest speakers before the South Plainfield Business Association and Borough Council and participated at the recent DECA and Tennis Team’s Tint Sprint and UNICO Blood Drive events, all while executing a fantastic recruiting effort within the high school, bringing the diverse team count to over 60 members strong and meeting twice a week.

Launched during the 2014-2015 school year and now in their second year, Tiger Tech’s objective continues to be fostering a love for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), as well as building upon authentic 21st Century skills for students to become technological leaders in our community and beyond. The Varsity Sport for the Mind, FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team ‘brand,’ hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to 'real-world engineering' as a student can get.

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On Oct. 13, the team was invited to attend the CitiBank Technology Expo at the Warren campus, which featured six FIRST Robotics Competition teams from across central Jersey, for Exhibition Showcase Alliance matches. CitiBank, as with other large corporations, is realizing the importance of cultivating young minds through STEM initiatives and wants to lend their support to the emerging workforce. Then on Oct 17, Tiger Tech teamed up with Dreams for Kids, Inc. for the Pros vs. Joes Basketball Tournament to raise funds for the 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition. Held in the South Plainfield High School gym, the evening event featured multiple matchup games between the NFL Alumni Association Pros and local tournament teams, including a special VIP Meet and Greet Reception, Halftime Exhibition Showcase Alliance match, and much more. Most importantly, the community came out for a fun filled event with positive messages.

Tiger Tech still has much to do before the build-season, which kicks-off on Jan. 9, 2016, followed by the FRC Competitions. For now the main goal of team members will be securing corporate sponsorships, recruiting for local professional (mechanical, electronic, and computer) engineering mentors and continuing team-building exercises. Anyone interested in volunteering, mentoring or sponsoring the South Plainfield High School Tiger Tech Robotics Team, should contact Lead Advisor Lisa Tenenbaum at ltenenbaum@spboe.org.