The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

November 17, 2009

Putting science first

By CHAD BLACKSHEAR

The Greenville High School Robowranglers were one of two high school robotics teams that were special guests at a press conference in Dallas Monday where Governor Rick Perry spoke of the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.

The conference was held at Emmett J. Conrad High School, which also had its robotics team at the conference.

Perry referenced the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge as opportunities for students to excel in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math and gain workforce skills.

Also in attendance were Texas Workforce commissioners Andres Alcantar and Ronnie Congleton, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott and other business leaders, during which time it was announced that the Texas Workforce Commission will invest $1 million to expand robotics education programs statewide.

“Exposing more young Texans to science, technology, engineering and math, and continuing to emphasize these core subjects in our schools, will help accelerate the pace of our high-tech education in Texas,” said Perry. “This investment will strengthen our state’s future workforce and contribute to making Texas even more competitive.”

According to Greenville Independent School District Superintendent Don Jefferies, the opportunity to attend the governor’s press conference was an honor for the Robowranglers and illustrated the progress made within the school district in regards to science and technology programs.

“It was an opportunity for about 40 of our students to be recognized by the governor and his staff for their success in our robotics program. It was a neat experience,” said Jefferies. “We presented the governor with a Robowranglers shirt and a letter of appreciation.”

Jefferies added that the robotics program at Greenville ISD is likely to receive additional recognition in the future.

“We have been working on expanding our STEM program for the past 3 1/2 years, and have expanded our robotics program to the middle school and elementary levels,” said Jefferies. “We have a very mature and established robotics program.”