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5 Days in the Life of GaCo

Last week, from Wednesday to late Saturday night, GaCo logged another 1,250 miles making a difference to students from Annapolis, Maryland, to Wise County, Virginia, located between Kentucky and Tennessee. That’s over twenty hours of driving time! GaCo’s adventure began on Wednesday when we sought out a small private school in Annapolis to teach our STEM Waypoint Lessons to its 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students, about two dozen students in all. Plus, were able to share about our FRC robot and give it a whirl as well. Needless to say, we’ve got new friends in Annapolis who we inspired and who certainly inspired us. We will be visiting their school again and they are planning to visit us when we compete in Annapolis at the Edgewater Qualifier the fourth weekend in March. We stayed over in Annapolis to represent FIRST at the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) conference on Thursday at the Westin Hotel. GaCo shared about all four FIRST programs and even had the opportunity to share a pair of our Golden Ratio Calipers to a school facilities Architect who was representing his firm at MABE. He gained some valuable insight on both the Golden Ratio as well as building schools with facilities to accommodate FRC teams. We got back to GEARS Thursday evening to unload our FRC robot, do a systems check and then load it in a trailer to leave 5:30AM Friday to our next destination - Coeburn Middle School in Coeburn, Virginia. After a six hour drive we arrived at Coeburn Middle School at noon on Friday where we taught our “Key to the Universe” lesson to its entire sixth grade class - about ninety students. The lessons went well and we shared our GaCo cards not only with the sixth grade students but also with a couple of eighth grade math classes and presented their principal with a life-seized pair of Golden Ratio calipers. Plus, even more special - two “Marine Moms” from Maryland and Virginia got to visit. GaCo (and the Marine Moms) are committed to helping Coeburn Middle School start a FIRST program. Thursday evening we drove about three hours east to arrive at Salem, VA, where we stayed overnight to compete at the Blue Ridge Brawl, an off-season event at Salem High School hosted by FRC Team 5724, the Spartans. It was an awesome event for GaCo. Not only did we end up as finalists and gave away some STEM Waypoints, we made some very promising contacts. Hopefully these contacts will lead to many more opportunities and trips to the Appalachia region of Virginia in GaCo’s quest for STEM-Ready Kids! Also, packed into this five day adventure, back at the “homefront,” GaCo was able to help kick-off two FLL teams at Salisbury Elk Lick Elementary School, just north of Grantsville in Pennsylvania. Pam and Jennifer Rankin as well as a couple of North 40 FLL and Loading... FTC students got these two teams off to a great start in their rookie FLL season. Thanks to all who made these five days possible. Specifically, Lorie Burdock and Pam Trautwein for chaperoning as well as Titus Beitzel for delivering and arranging use of a trailer to haul our competition and practice robot in to the Brawl in Salem. We’ll be talking about this “Five Day Adventure” much more in future blogs. Stay tuned!

Students from the Book of Life Academy around our FRC Robot in Annapolis with GaCo students Kelli Catulle and Cheyenne Reckart

Cheyenne and Kelli sharing about FIRST at the MABE Conference

When we pulled into the parking lot, GaCo knew we where at the right place!

Recipients of a GaCo LEGO Top Spinner after an impromptu Waypoint lesson at the Blue Ridge Brawl offseason event in which  GaCo competed on Saturday, Oct 5, at Salem High School, VA.

Mariah and Cheyenne setting up GaCo's Driver's Station at the Blue Ridge Brawl.


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