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Robotics project kicks off Jan. 10

Hamilton High School will be among 13 teams that will participate in the kick-off for the 2004 Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) High School Robotics Competition. The competition officially begins Jan. 10 with a ceremony in New Hampshire that will be telecast to team locations throughout the country including the GE Healthcare Institute, N16 W22419 Watertown Rd., Pewaukee, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The teams’ primary goal will be to design, create a prototype, build and test a robot that will compete in two regional and a final national competition. Regionals will be March 11-13 in St. Louis and March 25-27 at Northwestern University in Evanstan, Ill. The team hopes to earn its way to national competition April 15-17 for what is billed as the “NASCAR of Robotics” at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Students discover the important connection between science and technology classroom lessons and real world application in this exciting, stimulating environment where they get a hands-on look at an engineer’s profession. They also learn lessons in teamwork, project management and sportsmanship.

In its 13th year, the national engineering competition includes some standard game concepts and building material each year, but the details of the challenge will be revealed at the kick-off event.

FIRST is a nonprofit organization that generates innovative programs to promote math, science, and technology for young people. New Hampshire multi-millionaire and inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST in 1989. His goal was to inspire high school students to pursue careers in science and technology by teaming students with role models from industry to compete in a robotics competition with a Super Bowl atmosphere.

GE Medical Systems is sponsoring the Hamilton, Mukwonago, Oconomowoc, Milwaukee Washington, Pewaukee and Madison Memorial teams to participate in this national event. Teams are fundraising to cover travel expenses to Atlanta. Another 11 Wisconsin teams are sponsored by technology firms and universities from throughout the state. For more information visit