Costello pledges to back STEM leadership bill after students’ pitch

On Sunday November 6, 2016, Congressman Ryan Costello met with the team members of Out of the Box Robotics at the Technical College High School Brandywine, in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. During the meeting Frank McKnight, Principal of the TCHS, was presented with a certificate of appreciation for providing a meeting space for the team. The congressman reviewed and agreed to cosponsor H.R 5168 which authorizes the Treasury to mint coins in memory of Christa McAuliffe. From left to right: Vijay Saini, Team Mentor William Barker, Josh Beauchamp, Brandon Barker, Kavish Saini, Rep. Ryan Costello, Karthik Imayavaramban, Lander Holsinger, George Broadbent, John Colavito, Chiraag Chakravarthy, Chris Lijoi, Team Mentor Andy Moscarelli, Team Mentor Jerry Beauchamp and TCHS Brandywine Principal Frank McKnight.

On Sunday November 6, 2016, Congressman Ryan Costello met with the team members of Out of the Box Robotics at the Technical College High School Brandywine, in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. During the meeting Frank McKnight, Principal of the TCHS, was presented with a certificate of appreciation for providing a meeting space for the team. The congressman reviewed and agreed to cosponsor H.R 5168 which authorizes the Treasury to mint coins in memory of Christa McAuliffe. From left to right: Vijay Saini, Team Mentor William Barker, Josh Beauchamp, Brandon Barker, Kavish Saini, Rep. Ryan Costello, Karthik Imayavaramban, Lander Holsinger, George Broadbent, John Colavito, Chiraag Chakravarthy, Chris Lijoi, Team Mentor Andy Moscarelli, Team Mentor Jerry Beauchamp and TCHS Brandywine Principal Frank McKnight.

DOWNINGTOWN — After a recent visit to the Technical College High School (TCHS) Brandywine Campus, it was Rep. Ryan Costello who left with some legislative homework from local students. During a ceremony honoring TCHS Brandywine’s commitment to supporting local robotics team Out of the Box, students successfully convinced Costello to pledge to cosponsoring H.R. 5168.

Students from the Out of the Box robotics team came prepared to pitch H.R. 5168 to see if Costello would cosponsor it. After being presented with a printed out version of the bill, Costello read it over and then proceeded to sign it. “This isn’t the official bill signing but I want to let you know that this is something I will plan on cosponsoring once I get back to Washington,” said Costello. 

H.R. 5168 proposes to have the Department of the Treasury print a $1 silver coin in memory of Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who was onboard the space shuttle Challenger when it tragically exploded in 1986. A portion of the proceeds raised from the memorial coin would go toward FIRST®, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization devoted to helping young people discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology and math.                         

As a member of FIRST®, Out of the Box was thrilled to gain Costello’s support for H.R. 5168. “We were so honored to have Rep. Costello take the time out of his busy schedule to come out and be a part of our recognizing TCHS Brandywine for their contributions towards helping out team. It was especially great that he agreed to cosponsor the bill which will continue to help young people pursuing STEM related careers,” said team mentor Jerry Beauchamp.

Out of the Box Robotics Team 7244 is made up of middle school and high school students from seven schools in the Chester County area. Since the team is not affiliated with any one school, finding a place for the team to practice and build their robots was a challenge. As team mentor William Barker noted, “Over the past two years we have had to meet in a basement and then in a garage. At one point we needed to go to McDonald’s in order to use their Wi-Fi for our coding and programming components.”

That’s where TCHS Brandywine came in to help. Team mentor Jerry Beauchamp’s son, Josh Beauchamp, is a student at TCHS Brandywine enrolled in the robotics program. Since the school had always been so supportive of its robotic program, and other STEM initiatives, Jerry Beauchamp decided to reach out and see if TCHS Brandywine could help.

“TCHS Brandywine was extremely supportive and generous in allowing us to use this space. It has had such a great impact on the team to have a consistent place to meet and have access to all the materials, tools and resources necessary to be competitive in robotics,” said Jerry Beauchamp. 

Costello visited the TCHS Brandywine Campus on November 6 as part of a recognition ceremony by the local robotics team Out of the Box to honor the campus’ support of the program.

Costello’s visit began with a tour of the TCHS Brandywine robotics classroom led by team members Josh Beauchamp and Chris Lijoi. After the tour of TCHS Brandywine’s robotics classroom, Costello was introduced to the Out of the Box team and got a chance to see the space they utilize. 

After a brief demonstration of the team’s robot, the team presented TCHS Brandywine’s Principal, Frank McKnight, with two certificates of appreciation. After receiving the certificates, McKnight reaffirmed TCHS Brandywine’s commitment to supporting the overall development of STEM in Chester County. “It is our pleasure as part of the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), to support the team in any way that we can. It’s our goal here at TCHS Brandywine to support STEM activities in our area and we are glad to be of help,” said McKnight.

More information about TCHS Brandywine’s Robotics and Mechatronics program may be found at http://www.cciu.org/tchsrobotics. Additional information about Out of the Box can be found at http://www.ftc7244.org/

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