Although not the first year for the Junior Engineering Technical Society, Canfield High School students choosing to participate in the club this year benefitted from its initial endeavor with FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
With programs available for elementary, grade school and high school, the FIRST program's website, refers to FIRST as both the hardest fun and the most rewarding adventure one will ever undertake. A non-profit organization devoted to helping young people discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology, and math, FIRST was founded more than 20 years ago. According the www.usfirst.org, "The annual programs culminate in an international robotics competition and celebration where teams win recognition, gain self-confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path."
Although aware of the program's existence, Canfield High School teacher and JETS advisor Don Crum said in the past he avoided FIRST due to its expense. This year, however, with a significant number of students and parents who wanted to get involved, Crum said participation in the program was made possible in part through a NASA grant, a significant effort in fundraising, and the generosity of numerous corporate sponsors.
Photo by Kathleen Palumbo, Town Crier correspondent
Canfield High School teacher and JETS advisor Don Crum is pictured with CHS students and some of this year’s FIRST team members including Robby Hudock, Alex Tarashawty, Mike Ramunno, Chris Halley, Donald Cutrer, Bill Gibson, Paul Ugolini, Nick Crescimanno, Anthony Messuri, George Hoeferlin, and Dan Brown, and JETS member Jake Duda.
Calling this past one an organizational year, Crum said the upcoming summer and school year will entail major fundraising efforts and the attempt to secure additional grants, as in January 2014, FIRST will kick off the season worldwide with six weeks of robot building. This past year, Crum said that six-week period included work daily and on most weekends, with the team putting in approximately 45 hours over one four-day weekend.
Sharing that the FIRST experience includes the aspects of design, manufacturing, building, implementing a business plan, and public relations, Crum said during the 2012-2013 school year, students participated in a competition in Pittsburgh where their success included the Rookie All-Star award, and earned them the opportunity to compete at a national competition in St. Louis, to which they traveled.
Crum, who teaches Engineering Graphics I and II, said he has students go on to continuing education in all branches of engineering. Connor Abraham and Alex Tarashawty, both CHS seniors in Crum's Engineering II class, both plan to study electrical engineering at Ohio State University, and senior Kayla Barko said she plans to attend Kent State University for architecture.
Crum said while participation in JETS and its involvement in the FIRST program is open to all students, whether enrolled in his classes or not, going forward, he said participants need to recognize the time investment and level of commitment required of the program.
According the www.usfirst.org, "The annual programs culminate in an international robotics competition and celebration where teams win recognition, gain self-confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path."