On October 10, FIRST Robotics reached over 750 signatures on the website Change.org to become an Illinois High School Association (IHSA) sport. They are still in the process of trying to achieve their goal of 1,000 signatures. According to the petition written by Robotics Team member Elise Rivkin, Div. 564, posted on the Lane website in the beginning of October, the competitive nature of robotics is one of the reasons why they want to become an IHSA sport.
The petition also cited the fact that Lane’s FIRST Robotics Team has made it to the World Championship two years in a row, at a level unprecedented for the district. The competition requires students to build and program robots, that can be up to 150 lbs and 6 ft tall, to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors, according to the FIRST Robotics website. The team has a 6 week build season that requires a time commitment of 25 hours per week, according to the Lane website.
The cost of this technology is an important reason for the change.
“We believe that involvement with the IHSA will allow more schools to have access to funding for FIRST programs,” Rivkin said.
The petition also notes that IHSA includes both chess and drama as included activities, which are also not typically considered sports.
The overall goal of the petition is to make robotics a more recognized and widespread activity.
“We hope that this will enable robotics to reach every state school in the state of Illinois,” Rivkin said.