Over the past decade the Miller Place Robotics Team 514 has won numerous awards, competing in various competitions including Long Island Regionals and even the World Championships in Atlanta, GA.
The team, however, has been a recent victim of budget cuts. While the 2011-12 Miller Place School District budget allocates funding for two Robotics coaches, it does not provide any funding for other costs, such as competition fees or parts and materials needed to build the robot.
According to Nancy Arnold, the treasurer of the Miller Place Robotics Booster Club, the team members and families are responsible for raising around $7,000 for a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition registration fee of $5,000 and materials and parts ranging from $1,500 - $2,000.
The past few years the booster club has helped raise the required funds to allow the team to participate in nationally renowned FIRST Competitions, and one of their biggest fundraisers has been a raffle in conjunction with the in Port Jefferson. In 2010, the club raffled off a 260-piece toolset that valued at $299, raising $705 with that raffle. This year Sears donated a Nexgrill combination gas & charcoal grill, valued at $349. The club managed to raise $1,645 this year.
The drawing was held Monday night at Sears, hosted by store manager Cesar Farias.
"Cesar has been extremely generous with this donation, and has been fabulous to work with by providing us with numerous opportunities for selling raffle tickets at the store," Arnold said. "The Sears organization has truly demonstrated their commitment to programs within the local community, and to the youths that enjoy science and technology.
With many of the Robotics team members in attendance, Pete Poten, a parent and grandparent of Miller Place students, was announced as the winner of the grill. The $1,645 raised with the raffle will go a long way in helping the team compete this season.
"I am extremely grateful that the Miller Place Robotics team was fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of this generosity," Arnold said. "The students and coaches have a bond with this retail organization and Mr. Farias, knowing that their interest in science, technology, engineering and math was not minimized, rather emphasized."