EDITORIAL: TechFire Robotics' championship should make York County proud and hopeful

York Dispatch
  • TechFire Robotics recently won a regional championship at Lehigh University.
  • The team is made up of 26 students from 10 different York County schools.
  • The team will now advance to the national championship in Detroit, Michigan.

York County is home to another championship team.

This team, however, doesn’t feature any athletes bouncing a ball, throwing a pass or swinging a bat.

This team, rather, relies primarily on brain power to fuel its success.

Of course, this team also boasts the more traditional characteristics of all standout squads — teamwork and determination.

The name of this team may not be familiar to many of you, but it should be, because TechFire Robotics recently made all of York County very proud.

Bryce Neptune, left, and Jagr Krtanjeck, both 18, of the  Tech Fire robotics team practice running the robot for the upcoming World Championship event in Detroit, Thursday, April 18, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Regional champions: The nonprofit community robotics team, including 26 students from 10 schools, recently won first place collectively with two other teams at the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Mid-Atlantic District Championship, a regional robotics competition held at Lehigh University from April 3-6.

TechFire Robotics, coached by Tom Traina, will now advance to the national championship from April 24-27 in Detroit.

Dallastown Area, Central York, Eastern York, West York Area, York Catholic, Susquehannock, Kennard-Dale and York Suburban high schools were represented, as well as York County School of Technology and York Country Day School.

The regional championship was the culmination of five weeks of competition, in which the top 36 teams from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware competed with robots they designed and built.

York County robotics team win shows what STEM can do

TechFire a dynasty: This is not a one-year fluke, either. TechFire has won the event in four out of the past five years. The team has become a robotics dynasty.

TechFire’s success is also a real community effort. Not only are 10 local schools represented, but the team’s championship wouldn’t be possible without area donations, which helped foot the bill for TechfFire’s two robots, which cost $7,000 to $9,000 each.

Success bodes well for future: TechFire’s achievements certainly bode well for the future of York County. These young men and women should help drive local interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

York County companies are in desperate need of workers with a STEM background, and TechFire’s success should help inspire more local students to pursue a STEM curriculum.

Of course, those same companies must do their part and work to make York County a more attractive destination for young, educated, technical workers. We need the talented young TechFire members to remain here when they pursue careers.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf visits the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Mid-Atlantic District Championship, a regional robotics competition held at Lehigh University April 3-6. 

TechFire Robotics of York (pictured) won first place, and will compete again in the Detroit, Michigan nationals April 24-27. (Photo by: Daphne Frownfelter)

State makes STEM investment: Gov. Tom Wolf, a York County native, knows the importance of STEM. He attended the recent regional event.

Wolf's PAsmart initiative recently awarded its first $20 million in grants to support computer science and STEM education in elementary, middle and high schools, as well as professional development for teachers.

Wolf is proposing an additional $10 million for the initiative this year to expand career and technical education for adults and job training programs.

That money is a wise investment in our future — a future that seems a little brighter, thanks to the accomplishments of 26 York County teenagers.

"It’s the most optimistic I’ve been about the future," Traina said.

Coach, we wholeheartedly agree.