Saturday, January 10, 2009

Big Day in Robotics

There can be some wonderful days for teachers, students and parents. Today was one of them. The Brooklyn qualifying FIRST LEGO League tournament had 36 teams from all parts of Brooklyn taking part at NYU/Polytechnic University.

What kind of collaboration does putting on an event like this take, our 4th one in the last month with another to come at CCNY tomorrow (Sunday)? An all volunteer event, I might add (though many of the teacher/coaches do get per session)?

Here is an example of industry, university, high school, middle school, elementary school, college administrators, and even retirees working to create something that actually works.

We had the engineering students from Polytechnic and their robotics club (the Polybots) joined by loads of kids from the robotics teams from Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech (yes, we fed them - and fed them - and fed them). The event was run by Richard Wong, an engineer for the NY Stock Exchange (who gives so much of himself time and again) and former Polytechnic student and Wong employee, Mark Sharfshtyn, now at Credti Suisse. Mark runs our entire planning operation - while working full time and going for his MBA.

I'm not even going to go any further because there are so many people to mention. But special kudos to the amazing kids and their parents who kept piling in to see the action and the teachers who put so much into this. In the midst of robotic talk there were a few mentions of ed/politics and I was surprised when some of the newer teachers seemed to be aware of this blog.

After getting through the hectic early morning registration, my day involved circulating and dealing with any issues that came up. They rarely do. Today's biggie was the disappearance of an action figure from a 4 year old little brother of one of the kids. An older girl who may have been his sister drew a magnificent picture which I walked around with asking if anyone had seen the real thing. People were so impressed with the drawing they wanted to meet the artist. I get to schmooze a lot. I saw a familiar face walking around. I told him he looked familiar. "Lester Young," he said, former District 13 Superintendent and power broker at the DOE before he retired. Okaaay! I didn't think there was much to schmooze about.

Well, it's on to the citywide event on March 7 at the Javits center for 13 of these teams, who will be joined by 59 other teams from the other boroughs. That will be part of a 3 day event where our FLL kids (aged 9-14) will mingle with the big robots and the high school kids.

Alright. Enough of this feel-good syrupy stuff. North by Northwest is on and I have to see Cary make whoopee with Eva Marie.


  1. Norm: Lester Young is not merely a "former District 13 Superintendent and power broker at the DOE before he retired" - he is now a Regent, and even more powerful still.

  2. Maybe he can use his power to eliminate mayoral control. It seems Ms. Tisch has become nothing but a rubberstamp for her beloved "Mike"

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