The Garden City Friends of STEAM (GCFS) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established in 2015 to promote and support robotics and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) education, programs and activities for the students in the Garden City School District and Garden City community. Funds raised will be used to supplement STEAM programs in our schools and community, support Garden City school district robotics teams, and establish a STEAM scholarship program in the high school.
Our goal is to raise money to:
1. Support our high school’s creation of its first team to ever compete in VEX Robotics competitions.
a. What is VEX?
In the VEX Competitions, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, teams of students are tasked with designing and building a robot to play against other teams from around the world in a game-based engineering challenge. Classroom STEAM concepts are put to the test on the playing field as students learn lifelong skills in teamwork, leadership, communications, and more. Tournaments are held year-round at the regional, state, and national levels. Local champions go on to compete against the best in the world at VEX Worlds each April.
b. What can GCFS do to help support the creation of our high school team?
Our district has shown an outstanding commitment to STEAM and robotics however it lacks the sufficient funds, equipment and space required to fully support STEAM programs and VEX teams at the highest competitive levels. GCFS will provide funds needed to secure dedicated space as well as related equipment, team uniforms, competition entry fees and transportation.
2. Support our middle school’s participation in the FIRST Lego League Robotics (FLL)competition
a. What is FIRST/FLL?
FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, is a national non-profit organization devoted to inspiring young people’s interest in STEAM. Dubbed a "varsity sport for the mind" because it combines the excitement of sports with the rigors of science and technology, FIRST program participants are challenged to design a team "brand", hone teamwork skills, and design, build and program robots to perform specific tasks against a field of competitors. FIRST has programs for students from ages 6 through high school levels.
FLL stands for FIRST Lego League, the robotics competition level for ages 9-14. For the past two years our middle school has proudly entered 2 teams in the competition. Both teams advanced all the way to the FLL Championship Tournament and took home several awards.
b. What can GCFS do to help support the middle school’s participation in the FLL?
We are thrilled that the middle school is able to fund two teams. However the current funds at the middle school are not sufficient to offer all the interested middle school students an opportunity to compete because they cannot fund more than two teams. GCFS will provide donations to offset additional costs necessary to enable all interested students to compete on an FLL team.
3. Support teams of children in the community who want to compete in robotics tournaments that are presently not served by our school district programs.
Kids of all ages are interested in robotics and GCFS is committed to supporting interested Garden City students to participate in these programs. GCFS applauds and supports the efforts of private parent-run teams that lead teams of students who do not yet fall under the umbrella of our school district. Such teams include teams at the elementary school level (Jr. FLL and FLL) and FLL teams for community students not enrolled in GCMS. Presently there are multiple parent-lead teams in Garden City competing in both the Jr. FLL and FLL. GCFS will continue to support these community teams as they equip our younger students with the skills necessary to compete at the middle school and high school levels.
4. Provide college scholarships to GCHS students pursuing a STEAM major.
A key element of the mission of GCFS is to support students in their pursuit of learning science, technology, engineering and math. Each year we will recognize high school senior students who have shown exemplary effort in this pursuit while demonstrating mentorship and dedication to community service in STEAM areas.
5. Create and promote community and district education programs in STEAM.
GCFS will continue to lead our STEM Talks, host our Revel for Robotics Fundraiser, and participate in Parent University. In addition we will continue to support new and existing school programs that promote STEAM. We are pleased to be supporting the high school Project Lead The Way program through purchase of equipment needed to expand the curriculum.