HSDNC Supports Helen Bernstein High School Robotics Team

With all the cutbacks in education, we have eliminated almost all after-school programs for young adults at a time in their lives when they need to be exposed to the arts, science and sports.

The Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council has understood the need for after-school activities, providing funds for the L.A.C.E.R. program and encouraging young adults to appear before us to seek help for more projects.

Maria Yepremian, a senior at Helen Bernstein High School and captain of the school’s FIRST Robotics Team, came before the Board to ask for a donation for her group’s robot. Their creation will enter a competition sponsored by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization founded by Dean Kamen to promote interest in science, technology and engineering.

Yepremian’s team consisting of 15 students: ten boys and five girls with a majority from the Latino/Hispanic, Asian and Armenian communities, exemplifies the diversity found in our council district.

They work under the direction of physics teacher Mr. Punjatorn Chanudomchok, better known to his students as Mr. C, and outside advisor Jeff Davis.  Both share the belief that science is a key part of education and life. Davis, who works for the Navy, has noticed a marked increase of young people from diverse backgrounds participating in the science programs offered by the Navy and the other branches of the armed services. Also, Eric Husmann, senior at the University of South Dakota, School of Mines and Technology Skypes in with his first hand experience when he participating in robotics competitions in high school.

The FIRST competition requires a team to create and program a robot to play basketball — offensively, defensively or anywhere in between. The robot, about 60 inches high and under 120 pounds, sits on a dolly with wheels and is controlled with a joystick.

The competition season started in January and construction ended on February 21, when the robot was bagged up until the regional contest at the Long Beach Arena on the weekend of March 15-17. Seventy high schools will participate, competing in teams of three on three over 5 or 6 rounds.

The Hollywood Studio Neighborhood District Council is honored to help fund and champion the Helen Bernstein team. As Jeff Davis observed, “Science is such an important cornerstone of every society that more kids need to be encouraged to go into science.”

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