The Central Texas FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournament was held in Leander on Saturday, January 10th.
A national nonprofit, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) pairs adult mentors such as National Instruments engineers with teams of students as they participate in an international robotics competition. Students, ages 9-14 are given a themed challenge and have 10 weeks to work as a team to research and develop an engineering solution, all while demonstrating core values such as teamwork, friendly sportsmanship, what is discovered is more important than winning, having fun, and “gracious professionalism”.
Listen, as Ray Almgren, National Instruments’ Vice President of Marketing and Academic Relations, explains FIRST LEGO League goals and benefits.
The tournament and the entire 2008-2009 Central Texas FLL Season are made possible through generous support of fellow United Way corporate partners, National Instruments, and Silicon Labs.
National Instruments, by supporting employees taking work time to mentor students through FLL, is making a strategic impact on the educational success of Central Texas students. Research indicates that students who receive consistent, personal guidance from an adult mentor are significantly more likely to finish school, improve grades, and have more positive relationships. This is a key reason why United Way has evolved its work to focus on middle school students and launch its “Youth Education” initiative. With efforts targeted at middle school, where it is critical to ensure that all students are prepared for the transition to high school, United Way is making a long lasting impact at boosting the lagging high-school graduation rate. In this school year alone, 8,000 Austin ISD middle School students are considered at risk (have repeated a grade, failed 2 or more classes, did not pass the state assessment, etc.).