Shelanda Duncan, Wally Mizan-Young, Terrell Woods, Al-Quan Kane, Alianijah Slade, Dasia Boykin, Rykeea Jahnke are first time participants in the annual competition, which took place Saturday, December 6, 2008 at the NJIT athletics center in Newark. The FIRST challenge incorporates three components: The Project, the Community and the Game, where participants research and analyze a global problem and present solutions to their community and a panel of judges in addition to constructing a pre-programmed robot that must complete obstacle course tasks.
The Eagle-Bots, the robotics team at George Washington Carver Elementary School (GWC) & Bruce Street School for the Deaf in Newark, NJ, presented the Urban Heat Island Affect to an audience of peers on Friday, December 5, 2008 as prerequisite to their Saturday morning participation in FIRST Lego League's Climate Connections Challenge. This was GWC's first entry.
Belinda Poindexter, Robotics Coach, guided the seven students’ journey. From programming the robot to articulating presentation rhetoric, Mrs. Poindexter directed the Eagle-Bots through the ten week process that prepared them to present the facts of Urban Heat Island Effect in Newark to their sixth, seventh, and eighth grade classmates in addition to a special guest presenter on that Friday.
As part of the Green Jobs Now National Day of Action, Renaldo M. DaSilva, President & CEO of Building Green Solutions, LLC (BGS), a Newark-based general contracting company, lead the first Cool Roof installation on Level I Bakery, a landmark establishment on Bergen Street in Newark. “When I heard about Mrs. Singleton’s bakery getting a new roof that was supposed to help reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect, I thought it would be great to include that information in our presentation,” said Shelanda Duncan 8th grade Eagle-Bot. Shelanda contacted The Brickerati, a local PR agency that covered the event to get some questions answered about the installation for her presentation. Shelanda’s query led to Renaldo DaSilva’s visit to the school to address further questions himself.
Part of Building Green Solutions' community outreach, is an initiative called Saving Joshua’s Generation, a program designed to help urban youth understand the necessity of the Green Collar movement and the role their participation will play in a better tomorrow. “The Eagle-Bots are amazing and their understanding of Heat Island is commendable to say the least. It's projects and competitions like FIRST Lego that must continue in order to provide ways for our children to engage in creating a healthier and Greener future,” comments DaSilva.
The December 6 competition included team presentations of the selected global climate issue, as well as three elimination rounds in two and a half minute intervals. In addition to dynamically representing their school in competitiveness, character and sportsmanship, the Eagle-Bots came in first place in the “Best Use of Resources” category.
The Eagle-Bots dedicated their trophy to their principal, Dr. Winston Jackson, Ms. Poindexter, the South Ward community and their supporters. The hard-earned prize is currently on display at George Washington Carver Elementary/Bruce Street School for all to see.