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Support FIRST program

Published: Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

A group of Crystal Lake high school students formed a robotics team, Octopi, last year to participate and compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge national program. The students design, build and program their robot and compete against other teams in regional competitions.

In their first year, they placed first in the state competition and won several awards. This year, they are headed back to the state finals on Feb. 22.

While the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) program is supported strongly in other areas (Highland Park has 12 teams, Barrington has seven), Octopi is the only FTC McHenry County team. The program builds skills that are essential to our future. They are trying to spread the word and encourage more teams.

FIRST offers more than $13 million in scholarships annually to students. We should encourage these programs, and this is done with no tax money. The people and businesses of McHenry County should support more participation in this program.

Bob Mehl

Crystal Lake

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