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This Fall, the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics team, the GEarheads (Team #16460), partnered with the Elmbrook Education Foundation (EEF), the Elmbrook Schools Technology Team, Brookfield Central and Brookfield East High Schools, and Brookfield and Elm Grove Public Libraries to collect 79 used computers and devices to donate to robotics teams and/or STEM organizations and schools in resource-challenged areas of Milwaukee.

The FTC team (composed of students from Wisconsin Hills, Brookfield Central & East) collected used devices through a community-wide drive in August and September, then refurbished them through a thorough process of evaluating each device, scrubbing or replacing the hard drives, and loading them with new Windows 10 and robotics software. Of the devices collected, 25-30 of them have been refurbished for robotics teams, another 30-40 are being responsibly recycled, and a small number are being sold to fund the software, hardware, and laptop cases.

“I am blown away by the incredible work and initiative that the GEarheads team has taken to help our neighboring schools overcome barriers to learning and participating in the Robotics experience," said Dan Scott, Elmbrook’s Director of Technology. “This project will help change the trajectory of students that are interested in a future in technology by providing them with the necessary tools to get there!” Sidharth Rane, a student involved in orchestrating the project added, "The support of the community to donate these used computers and funds to make this project possible has been absolutely incredible. After our robotics team refurbished the devices, we are so excited to see other teams taking their coding skills to the next level. We cannot thank everyone enough for their support!"

After connecting with the STEM Program Leader at MSOE, the FTC GEarheads delivered laptops to FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams at six public and private schools affiliated with The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, and to FTC teams at Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy and Golda Meir School, both in Milwaukee. The new computers will enable students to learn and apply coding for their robots in preparation for the STEM program’s winter competition season. The remaining laptops will be distributed in the coming months, as additional teams-in-need are identified.

students with laptop donations at Boys and Girls Club
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