STEM. The buzzword and acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. The formula for American students to remain competitive in a global economy; the key to returning innovation, manufacturing and problem solving to the U.S. thereby strengthening the job market here where it matters most.
Area educators are helping our young people board the STEM train by implementing U.S. FIRST Robotics programs, now in three area school districts. Joining Capac's long-standing and award-winning robotics team Metal & Soul are rookie teams from Imlay City (Spartronics) and Almont (Shock-and-awe-sum)—now making their way into regional and state competitions.
FIRST, yet another acronym for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a mentor-based program where students hone skills in teamwork, problem solving, and communication in a fun and engaging way. The non-profit's mission aims to inspire students to become science and technology leaders, to innovate and to take leadership roles.
Local programs are heavily dependent on parent volunteers, who serve as mentors to young people. Teachers innovate as well, seeking grants to help fund the program, which includes the building of a robot for each team. Competitions are as exciting as any sporting event. Anyone who's ever attended a FIRST competition walks away with a school pride and team spirit that is infectious.
We congratulate area schools for getting on board with U.S. FIRST, for offering young men and women alike an opportunity to spread their wings in the STEM fields. Best wises for success in this year's competition.