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Issaquah High School among teams to participate in Special Olympics robotics championship

Issaquah & Sammamish Reporter - 11/14/2017

The Pacific Science Center will host the 2017 Special Olympics Unified Robotics Championship from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 for the second consecutive year. It is the culmination of a six-week building season, and more than 40 teams from Washington state schools are scheduled to attend — including a team from Issaquah High School.

As a recognized sport by Special Olympics Washington, the competition is one of the many events that supports the organization's mission of building a new world of inclusion and community for people of all abilities. In July 2018, the greater Seattle community will have the unique opportunity to inspire change and to model what it means to be a community that truly welcomes people with intellectual disabilities when Seattle hosts the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.

"We are excited to host the Unified Robotics Championship for a second year. Pacific Science Center is dedicated to enabling access for all, and we are proud to support the Special Olympics' City of Inclusion initiative. With Unified Robotics we are expanding access and eliminating barriers to science. We hope you'll join us for a day of spirited competition. You'll discover what one can accomplish when provided with innovative technology and inclusive experiences," said Pacific Science Center President and CEO Will Daugherty.

Pacific Science Center provides multiple programs in keeping with its dedication to enabling access for all. One Saturday a month the center hosts Exploration for All: Autism Early Open, where families with children on the autism spectrum can enjoy the Science Center before normal business hours free of charge and with less sensory stimulation. The center also offers specially-priced memberships for families on any form of government assistance and free memberships for foster and homeless youth.

Partnering with Special Olympics Unified Robotics was a natural fit for the Science Center. Its mission is to ignite curiosity and fuel a passion for discovery, while Unified Robotics gives students with disabilities a chance to experience activities they may not have had before.

Unified Robotics participant, Kendall Foster, who is on the autism spectrum, found a new interest in STEM through the competition. "Seeing how my daughter, Kendall, has changed, and how before she had no interest in technology, now she's interested in robots," said mother Noelle Foster. Foster's story can be found at pacificsciencecenter.org/pacsci-stories/building-bots-breaking-barriers.

Students from all over Washington state have been building robots for weeks, and will come together to compete in a friendly version of "Battle of the Bots." Teams compete in a four-by-four foot field, trying to push the opponent's robot out. The robot that remains in the field the longest is the winner. The winning team of each division will move on to compete inside Pacific Science Center'sPACCAR IMAX Theater, to determine the champion. For more, visit unifiedrobotics.org/championship.

 
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