The head coach for Walton High School’s award-winning robotics team recently travelled to the U.S. Air Force Academy for the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Leadership Experience. Brian Benton was one of 25 robotics educators from across the U.S. selected to attend the event, which was hosted by the Air Force’s Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD).
As sponsors of the event, Air Force Recruiting accompanied the teachers and all members of the national FIRST organization The educators, commonly called FIRST Mentors, participated in sessions designed to hone their mentoring skills through immersion with the Air Force core values such as team building, leadership, creative problem-solving and organizational skills.
Mentors toured the CCLD, mechanics lab, aero lab, robotics lab and cadet pavilion. They also tackled the ropes course.
“We wanted to attract the best and brightest here and create a STEM connection with them,” said Capt. Ross McKnight, an Academy grad and Air Force recruiter.
Benton leads Walton High School’s 40-member robotics team, which won first place in Georgia in 2016. The Walton team competes in FIRST robotics competitions and also performs more than 4,100 hours of community outreach to spread science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in the school and the community. The team mentors and students spent more than 20,000 hours on team activities during the 2016-17 season.