Newark Public Schools Switches Out March Madness for Basketball and Replaces it with March Madness for Robotics

More than 200 Students and 20 Robots They Created Participate in City Wide Program & Competition

Free Saturday Event for Families, Students and Robot Enthusiasts

[NEWARK, NJ – March 7, 2019] Nearly 200 students will take to the gymnasium floor on Saturday, March 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Newark’s First Avenue School for the NEWARK MARCH ROBOTICS MADNESS. They are not taking to the gym floor to play basketball during this March Madness basketball season, they are instead taking to the gym floor to display and demonstrate their robots, created by students in the Newark Public Schools. The teams are generously supported by the Overdeck Family Foundation and the Panasonic Foundation.

“I want to thank the Overdeck Family Foundation and the Panasonic Foundation for their generous gifts to Newark Public Schools students, and especially to the Newark First Robotics Teams,” said Newark Schools Superintendent Roger León. “Through the FIRST initiative, our students are expanding their knowledge of science and technology, and robotics development, and their use in our lives today and in the future. I am so very proud of our nearly 200 students and 20 schools who will participate in this monumental exploration of the mind. Our goal is to create the framework for students to use what they learn now and use it throughout their academic career and beyond.”

Students from 20 schools will display and demonstrate science and technology at the annual FIRST student robot program and competition. NEWARK MARCH ROBOTICS MADNESS is being sponsored by Panasonic and Overdeck Family Foundation. Students will display their robots in the gymnasium as part of the FIRST team. FIRST has as a mission to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership.

“Overdeck Family Foundation is proud to support FIRST’s expansion in Newark, increasing opportunities for students to collaborate in teams to build their STEM confidence, along with problem solving and communication skills,” said Brian Carter, program officer at Overdeck Family Foundation.

“We are honored and thrilled to support March Robotics Madness. We know access to STEM can change the course of a student’s life by meeting the demand of a growing global demand. When students choose STEM-related paths, they develop lifelong skills in teamwork, leadership and communication,” said Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director Panasonic North America Office of Corporate Social Responsibility and the Panasonic Foundation.

“Today, technology is so advanced that we must keep with the times,” said Josephine C. Garcia, President of the Newark Board of Education (NBOE). “Robotics plays a critical role in the structure of our society, from defense to the health industry, and beyond. In Newark’s schools, I am excited to see our students actively involved in making life, as we know it, better. I am so proud of the district for demonstrating to everyone that our children are exposed to opportunities that redefine what our schools are becoming now.”

According to Tim Nellegar, Special Assistant of Educational Technology and Computer Science at the NBOE, the FIRST Lego League division teams will compete against each other in both research presentations and robotics missions. Our FIRST Lego League, Jr. teams will display their projects and research and FIRST Tech Challenge teams will showcase their robots and their 2018-2019 game challenge. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at First Avenue School, located at 281 First Avenue.