Here’s a letter we sent to Mr. Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama, to ask them to attend the Midwest Regional:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Obama,
My name is Evelyn Munoz, a 17-year-old junior, attending Horizon Science Academy- McKinley Park. During my freshman year of highschool, I was invited to join my school’s robotics team. I was very intrigued by the idea of building a robot because what teenager wouldn’t want to, so I joined, no questions asked. About a month later, I was thrown into the world of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and robotics. I was at school usually six out of the seven days of the week, staying until after hours to finish a task. Balancing my academic responsibilities and my robotics responsibilities was the hardest task of all. There was a significant drop in my grades but I kept telling myself that it had to get worse before it got better. When you spend more than half of the week at school, seeing the same people over and over, and then having to go home, do chores (like a normal kid would) and finish your homework that was due the next day, it takes a toll on you. Both physically and mentally. I slowly came to the realization that robotics wasn’t meant to strain my grades, or anything of that sort, but to help me learn how to balance responsibility and commitment in all areas of my life. These past three years of being on this team, without a doubt in my mind, have taught me more about myself and the world than anything else I’ve done.
I think the morals and beliefs of FIRST closely align to those of your foundation. When I started of, I was very unsure of my opinions and often didn’t care to join any extracurricular activities. Through the support of my teammates and mentors, I have taken leadership positions within our team that not only have allowed me to speak up and be more open with my thoughts and opinions but have inspired me to make my own opportunities. One of these opportunities is the empowerment of women in STEM. #FIRSTLikeAGirl, a campaign created by Team 1902 Exploding Bacon, looks to inspire, empower and motivate girls of all ages to pursue their interest in STEM. As you may know, there continues to be a lack of women in STEM fields. So, when I found out about this campaign, I immediately decided to bring this back to my own team and interview my female teammates because they all got recruited into the team differently. Although we all come from different backgrounds and have different beliefs, we all agree that if one person, no matter age or gender, was motivated through the telling of our stories, then our struggles and our triumphs were all worth it.
An event that I also have taken responsibility for hosting is our school’s first ever blood drive! We have partnered up with the American Red Cross of Chicago to host at our school. I’ve always thought that these types of events helped people make small but big contributions and help someone in need, even if they weren’t doing it directly. Not only is this great for high school students like myself but it allows for the robotics team and school staff to build a better relationship with the parents and the community. We truly hope that this becomes an annual event that people look forward to each year and hopefully continues to expand and bring local politicians, like yourself.
As I’ve mentioned, we are a competitive high school robotics team that participates in FIRST. This program and our team are more than just robots. We are constantly striving to empower students. We have made it our team’s mission to inspire the next generation and secure a promising future. To do this, we are on a continual search for leaders to influence our community. We’d like to formally invite both of you to attend the Midwest Regional, our competition which is at UIC Pavilion Chicago and will take place from April 6 to April 7. On behalf of all 50+ teams attending this event and all of its staff, we would love and appreciate your visit. It’d be an honor to have you check out what we do.