Jaws dropped and applause erupted when a check for $7,500 grew to $23,500.
The Sweetwater Union High School District Board of Trustees was poised to recognize AT&T recently for their generous donation to the district’s efforts to create robotics teams on campus, but they were caught offguard by the largesse of the donation.
“We have been so pleased by how schools in the Sweetwater District have really jumped on the robotics bandwagon,” said Christine Moore, director of external affairs for AT&T. “That’s why we’re increasing the donation tonight.
“We support this program because these are the future engineers and technology experts we need. Investing in you is investing in us,” Moore said.
AT&T had provided a $7,500 grant to Hilltop High last year to help defray the costs of entering the FIRST Robotics regional competition. Through the robotics competition, school teams assemble a robot from parts purchased through FIRST Robotics. The teams compete regionally for a chance to attend the national competitionthis year in Atlanta, Ga.
While Hilltop High didn’t make it to the national competition this year, their Rookie All Star Team status last year sparked the creation of robotics teams at Eastlake High and Alternative Education in the district this year. Both Eastlake High and Alternative Education teams made it to the national competition this year, and Alternative Education walked away with the International Rookie Team of the Year.
The Board of Trustees had wanted to publicly thank AT&T for their donation to Hilltop High last year, but were even more overwhelmed with the additional contribution.
“This is such an unexpected surprise,” said Board President Pearl Quiñones. “We are so grateful for the investment in our students. Programs like robotics helps students really connect what they’re learning in the classroom with a project that is not only fun, but one that builds work-place skills.”
The funds are to be used to create two more robotics teams in schools throughout the district.