Monday, March 3, 2014

MEDIA YOUTH CENTER’S FTC ROBOTICS PROGRAM - Local Students Find Success in Their First Year

Contact: Jennifer Steinbach                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cell phone #: 610 999 7269

Local Students Find Success in Their First Year

The First Tech Challenge, formerly the First Vex Challenge, is a nation-wide robotics
competition targeted toward middle and high school-aged students. It offers the traditional
challenge of a FIRST Robotics competition but with a more accessible and affordable
robotics kit. The ultimate goal of FTC is to reach more young people with a lower-cost,
more accessible opportunity to discover the excitement and rewards of science, technology,
engineering, and math.

The competition challenges students to enhance their critical thinking and problem-solving
skills and use science, math, and engineering skills to build robots to perform a specified set
of tasks. The program works thanks to volunteers and sponsors who organize the events
and underwrite the costs, including the parts kits supplied to each participating team.

The Media Youth Center’s robotics program hosted seven teams during the past season
for children ranging in age from 7 - 15 years old. It was the first season for the FTC team
(students age 15 and up). The team has six local students from Penncrest High School and
Springton Lake Middle School and they call themselves the MYC Zettabytes.

An important adult member of the Media Youth Center’s successful robotics program is
mentor and program coordinator, Patrick Ackroyd, a Amtrak engineer. He and other parent-
mentors volunteer their time and valuable expertise to the FTC program.

The Zettabytes and their robot attended a First Tech Challenge rookie competition in
January in Pottsown, PA. They placed sixth out of twenty teams in their first event, almost
qualifying to advance to the state competition. This is the first year that the MYC Robotics
program has hosted a FTC team and they competed against (and beat) many programs
that are experienced with hosting FTC teams. The team is proud of their first-year
successes and looking to take their experiences and knowledge gained and move forward
towards next season.

The MYC Robotics program is always in need of mentors experienced with computer
programming, engineering, and physics, who are interested in volunteering as advisors
to the students. In addition, the program is in constant need of funding, both from private
and corporate sources, to supply teams with robotics kits and motors critical to their

For more information about the MYC Robotics program, or to volunteer your time and/or
financial resources, please contact Pat Ackroyd at 215.219.8388 or
The Media Youth Center’s Zettabyte Team in action with their robot. Team members

pictured are (from left to right): Raymond Somerville, Samir Jambhekar, Liam Forsythe,
Ricky Anderson, Bennett Steinbach and Ian Ackroyd.

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If you would like more information about this topic, or would like to schedule an interview,
please contact Jennifer Steinbach at 610 999 7269 or

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