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World comp advocacy for STEAM programs Lily the Learner Mentors Our robot Varsity

ABOUT US

Mission Statement
The mission of FIRST Team 1676, the Pascack Pi-oneers, combines the fundamental beliefs of FIRST with the desires of our team members to pursue and promote future careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) and to provide STEAM education for our community. Our goal is to operate as a cohesive team, competing with Gracious Professionalism under the guise of FIRST and developing our students’ abilities to conspire, create and develop as individuals and collectively as a team. We strive not only to build a successful robot, but also to master and exhibit the many life-skills necessary to succeed beyond FIRST Team 1676.
Team Description
The Pascack Pi-oneers, located in Bergen County, New Jersey, are part of the Pascack Valley Regional High School District, which consists of four towns: Hillsdale, River Vale, Montvale and Woodcliff Lake. Students from Hillsdale and River Vale attend Pascack Valley High School, students from Montvale and Woodcliff Lake attend Pascack Hills High School. Team meetings are held at Pascack Hills and through the generous support of the PVRHSD Board of Education, members from Pascack Valley are transported to Pascack Hills by bus.

When founded in the 2004-2005 season, the Pi-oneers had 35 active members. After 12 years of development, the team consists of 75 members. Team growth includes over 55% of members being female, with 60% holding leadership positions. A member of the Pi-oneers is a dedicated, hard-working individual; the average member spends about thirty-five hours a week working during build season. Although all members work tirelessly during the intense Build Season, they believe it is the “hardest fun” a student can have.

Pi-Tech Academy was created by the Pascack Pi-oneers to train rookies for the upcoming Build Season and to reinforce the skills of returning members. Each Sub-Division is taught by a mentor and qualified veteran team members. The Academy focuses on educating members about the basic skills of their Sub-Division that will provide them with the knowledge necessary to make a worthwhile contribution to their team. Members also learn about all facets of Team 1676 and FIRST Robotics. Pi-Tech Academy focuses on quickly transforming new, inexperienced members into productive members who contribute many valuable assets, driving the team to success. The program commences in early November and continues for six weeks through December.

The Pascack Pi-oneers are supported by the community. The team owes much of their success to the coaches and mentors who work closely with the team throughout the course of the year. Teachers and staff in the schools, engineers from the community, business professionals and parents all work hard to ensure that FIRST Team 1676 flourishes and thrives. The Pascack Pi-oneer Parents Association (Pi-Parents) contributes greatly to the team by organizing nightly dinners during Build Season, host the Kickoff Lunch, coordinate carpooling, sell team spiritwear, organize the Team Picnic and keep friends & family informed about team activities.
Team History
In the fall of 2004, Team 1676 was established by Pascack Valley High School senior Matt Hayon, Philip Paspalas, a former Technology teacher at Pascack Hills High School, and Mercedes-Benz, the team’s first corporate sponsor. Their hard work and dedication to establish a new technology and engineering after-school program created the Pascack Pi-oneers.

The name of the team, The Pascack Pi-oneers, was developed in the team’s first season when a game clue referenced the mathematical symbol “𝛑”. Since the mascots of Pascack Hills and Pascack Valley are a Cowboy and an Indian, the team created the name “Pascack 𝛑-oneers”. Choosing the team colors proved a difficult task because the team did not want to show favoritism to either high school by choosing the colors of one of the schools. A freshman team member solved this problem by designing a logo using the colors yellow and black, two colors which are not associated with either school.

The Pi-oneers have come a long way since their successful start in 2004 and winning the Rookie All-Star Award in their first year. In 2009, when Mr. Paspalas was promoted to Vice Principal and Athletic Director, he credited his success to his opportunity to demonstrate leadership while mentoring Team 1676.
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Fun Facts
Members
81
Percentage of Girls
55%
Mechanical Leaders that are Girls
60%
Student Female Leadership
50%
Previous FLL Participation
50%
Student Graduate Rate
100%
Students Pursuing STEAM-related Fields in College
100%
Team Members Mentor FLL Teams
25%


ALUMNI

Graduates and alumni from FIRST Team 1676 play a significant role in the ongoing viability of the Pascack Pi-oneers team. Since the establishment of the team in the 2004-2005 season, the Pascack Pi-oneers have maintained a 100% high school graduation rate, and a minimum of 90% of graduating Pi-oneers pursue careers in STEAM fields. Inspired by the dedication and success of the Pascack Pi-oneers, the Guidance Department now tracks career interest in engineering among graduates.

Although they have completed their time as a student on the team, alumni constantly return for FIRST events to support and represent the Pascack Pi-oneers. Former team members also visit during school breaks to contribute their experience and give guidance to the current members of the team. Subsequently, relationships develop between returning alumni and current Pi-oneers, helping to build continuity from one year to the next. The fact that graduates eagerly return to the Pascack Pi-oneers to be actively involved in the team proves the statement “Once a Pioneer, Always a Pi-oneer” stands true.

Graduates of FIRST Team 1676 have been awarded over $400,000 in FIRST scholarships. Last year, the Bart Kamen Memorial Scholarship was awarded to member Noah Shields. After receiving a Platinum sponsorship many years ago, Team 1676 established a yearly scholarship. They award $500 to one graduating team member from each high school.

Pi-PAN (Pioneer Alumni Network)
About Pi-PAN
Pi-PAN is Team 1676’s new Pi-oneer Alumni Network. Like Pi-Parents, we’ll send out a periodic newsletter of Team 1676 updates; these will be weekly during Build and Competition Seasons and monthly during the Off-Season. Valuable resources will also be offered to our alumni, such as interview training, résumé workshops, and job opportunities.
Pi-PAN Mission
The Pi-oneer Alumni Network’s mission is to reconnect with Pi-oneer alumni and to aid them in their educational and occupational endeavors.
Alumni Testimonials
Eric Delsanto, Pascack Pi-oneer Alumnus, Class of 2011
“I was a member of Team 1676 my entire high school career. The mentors taught me so many things I never knew before, which inspired me to pursue my Bachelors/Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering. During winter and spring break and whenever possible I return to mentor the Pi-oneers in the mechanical division and CAD (Computer-Aided Design). It is a lot of time to give back to the team, but every minute I can help out is worth it. It is very satisfying to give back to the team that gave me so much, but also I have learned so much by mentoring them. It goes to show that learning never stops, and I am glad I can learn from the team while helping others learn engineering. That is why I return whenever I can.”

Jenna Malley, Pascack Pi-oneers Alumnus, Class of 2013
“After arriving at Northeastern University, it was important to me to remain connected to the FIRST community. Being a member of the Pascack Pi-oneers, who had given so much to me in high school, inspired my decision to volunteer and I began mentoring FRC Team 125 in 2013. This year my team hosted an FIRST LEGO League tournament. None of the mentors on the team had ever run one before, however I had volunteered for many with Team 1676. The Pi-oneers mentor's welcomed me to shadow them throughout the planning stages, set up, and event during their 2015 FLL Qualifier, and this knowledge proved invaluable. Team 125 would not have been able to run their competition without the help of Team 1676.”
Matt Lantry, Pascack Pi-oneer Alumnus, Class of 2014
“When I began college I became a mentor for FRC Team 4475, a rookie team in an urban area. As a former Pascack Pi-oneer, I realized mentoring was an important path to take. During Build Season a misplaced order left my team without any materials to build our robot. I reached out to Team 1676 and they immediately provided material to build our robot. They graciously answered our questions and assisted with programming which provided our robot the capability to function at its best. Due to their assistance and generosity, my team had a great competition robot and became Finalists at an event.”
Introducing Pi-PAN



Contact

If you have any questions, please email: alumni@team1676.com


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Team Statistics
Colleges & Universities Attended
American University
Bentley University
Bergen Community College*
Boston University
Bucknell University*
Carnegie Mellon University*
Case Western Reserve University*
Central Michigan University
Clarkson University
Chapman University
Dominican College
Drexel University*
Five Towns College
Florida Institute of Technology
George Washington University*
Ithaca College
Lafayette University
Lehigh University*
Manhattan College*
Marist College*
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Massachusetts Institute of Technology*
McGill University
Montclair State University *
Muhlenberg College
New Jersey Institute of Technology*
New York University*
Northeastern University*
Northwestern University*
Olin College of Engineering*
Pace University
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Pennsylvania State University
Purdue University
Quinnipiac University
Ramapo College*
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute*
Rochester Institute of Technology*
Rowan University*
Rutgers University*
St. Thomas Aquinas College*
Seton Hall University
Stevens Institute of Technology*
Stockton University
SUNY Buffalo*
SUNY Maritime
Sweet Briar College
Syracuse University*
The College of New Jersey*
Tufts University
Tulane University*
University of Arizona
University of Buffalo
University of Central Florida
University of Delaware*
University of Hartford*
University of Maryland*
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
University of Michigan*
University of New Haven
University of Rhode Island
University of Scranton
University of Vermont
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Villanova University*
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University*
Washington University
Washington University in St. Louis*
West Virginia University
William Paterson University
York College of Pennsylvania
* Represents schools that multiple Pi-oneers have attended

UPCOMING COMPETITIONS

Bridgewater-Raritan High School
600 Garretson Road
Bridgewater, NJ 08807

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Montgomery Township High School
1016 Route 601
Skillman, NJ 08558

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Stabler Arena
Lehigh University
124 Goodman Drive
Bethlehem, PA 18015

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The Dome at America's Center
901 N Broadway
St. Louis, MO 63101

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DIVISIONS


Division
Every thriving organization understands the importance of being surrounded by successful people who can share their expertise with those around them. Team 1676 is structured much like a small but well-integrated corporation due to their coaches, teachers, mentors and student Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). There is one student CEO from each school. The team has created three Divisions (Information Technology & Robot Control (ITRC), Mechanical, and MOD (Management, Outreach, and Design), under which there are 16 Sub-Divisions. Division leaders are responsible for managing all aspects of their divisions and are chosen due to their exemplary demonstration of leadership skills. Each Sub-Division works on a specific aspect of their Division. This encourages more collaboration, communication, and responsibility between teammates.
Sub-Division
Team leaders attend training workshops prior to the start of Build Season, teaching students effective leadership and managerial skills. Team members are trained during Pi-Tech Academy to develop a skillset necessary for Build Season. Some students cross train between Sub-Divisions during their tenure as Pi-oneers in order to increase their knowledge base and share their expertise. Each year, the team assigns students within the Mechanical Division to game-specific Mechanical Sub-Divisions. This year’s game-specific Mechanical Sub-Divisions are: Climber, Shooter, and Gear. The Pascack Pi-oneers are fortunate to have dedicated mentors for all of their Sub-Divisions to work with them throughout the build season.

LILY THE LEARNER

Lily's Workshop

A team trip to the Tomorrow Children’s Institute at the Hackensack University Medical Center was inspiring to the Pi-oneers. They visited with the patients, read their trilogy Lily the Learner, donated LEGOs, and demonstrated their robot. This visit became the inspiration for the creation of Lily’s Workshop: a dollhouse children can use to learn about STEAM. Lily’s Workshop has a 4-year plan including research, prototypes and a Go-To-Market strategy. The Pi-oneers continue to visit frequently.

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Available On:
Lily the LearnerEnglish
Lily the Learner – English
Lily the Learner – Russian
Lily the Learner – Chinese
Lily the Learner – Greek
Lily's Helping HandEnglish
Lily the LearnerEnglish

Advocacy for New Jersey Mentor Based STEAM Programs

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Advocacy for New Jersey Mentor Based STEAM Programs
In June, team representatives attended the FIRST National Advocacy Conference (NAC) hosted by FRC Team] 27, RUSH, in Washington, D.C.. They spoke with governors, congressmen and senators to form valuable relationships with their government officials and advocate for STEAM education legislation. Other items discussed at NAC included the positive effect of FIRST on school districts and cite the issues teams, especially those in underserved areas, often face. NAC provided students with an inside look at issues in education policy and an opportunity to influence positive change.

The Pi-oneers were inspired by Team Rush’s establishment of NAC and decided to bring the program back to New Jersey where Advocacy for New Jersey Mentor-Based STEAM Programs was established. Meetings with government officials have been conducted to promote the allocation of federal funding from the reauthorization of ESSA, Every Student Succeeds Act. The funding is to be distributed to underserved schools in the state of New Jersey for after school MBSP (Mentor Based STEAM Programs). Attendees of the organizational meeting included Senior Policy Advisor Marci Green from Governor Christie’s office, Assemblyman Robert Auth, New Jersey Commissioner of Education David Hespe, Assistant Commissioner of Innovation Evo Popoff, Bergen County Interim Executive Superintendent Norah Peck, as well as Pascack Valley Regional High School District Superintendent Erik Gunderson, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Dr. Barry Bachenheimer, District Director of Science and Technology Education Dr. Aarti Mallya, Principal of Pascack Valley H.S. Tom DeMaio, and Principal of Pascack Hills H.S. Glenn DeMarrais.

The presentation was well received. The Commissioner of Education immediately stated, “Let’s make this happen” and gave assignments to all the attendees. With the assistance of the Commissioner of Education’s office, team members met with our targeted schools to introduce Mentor-Based STEAM Programs. The Pi-oneers spoke about creating a FIRST team, but discussed other options available including Science Olympiad.

In June of 2016, the Pi-oneers were given a grant from the New Jersey Department of Education to begin FIRST Tech Challenge teams in underserved districts in New Jersey. Receiving this grant was inspirng. The Pi-oneers traveled to the state capitol building in Trenton, New Jersey, to further our Advocacy campaign. Team members also returned to the National Advocacy Conference later that month in Washington, D.C., and spoke about our path to success and obtaining our grant. During the summer, the Pi-oneers began planning their own Advocacy Conference for the state of New Jersey. The Pi-oneers mission is to create Mentor Based STEAM Programs for underserved schools and to express the importance of STEAM education to all.
First Annual Conference
On October 22, 2017 the Pascack Pi-oneers hosted the first annual New Jersey Advocacy Conference. In the state of New Jersey, there are school districts who are unable to provide programs such as FIRST. The Pi-oneers are working toward making funding available, and more advocates and mentors are needed for these teams.

During our conference, we shared our goal of implementing Mentor Based STEAM Programs (MBSPs) in underserved areas of New Jersey. Teams met to discuss the effects of these programs and brought in several guest speakers including Assemblyman Robert Auth, and Bergen County Superintendent of Schools Norah Peck. At the conference, teams were informed about the impact FIRST has on high school students, given tips on how to make appropriate presentations, and reviewed the importance of mentorship. These points will help implement MBSPs in New Jersey and raise awareness about the importance of receiving the maximum amount of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) funding.

OUR MENTORS


Team 1676 is very grateful for the endless support of their mentors, parents, friends, and family. Proving the team saying, "Once a Pi-oneer, always a Pi-oneer, " our mentors are not only our teachers, but also parents of team members and alumni. We have mentors from the local business community who caught "FIRST Fever" and continue to mentor the team year-after-year.

Kevin Killian - Head Coach - Mechanical
Kevin has been the Pascack Pi-oneers head coach since the 2008-2009 season and serves as the Lead Mechanical Engineering mentor. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University and a Master of Business Administration from New York University. Kevin worked as an engineer, engineering manager, and Director of Operations during his 19-year engineering career, which included producing space-flight hardware. During this time he was awarded seven U.S. Patents. Kevin has been a math teacher at Pascack Hills High School since 2003. He became a mentor/coach of the Pi- oneers at the team’s inception in the 2004-2005 season. He instituted recruiting activities that have increased the team from a typical size of 40 members before he became Head Coach to 80-90 members since taking the helm. Additionally, Kevin led Team 1676 to significantly support the local middle school FIRST LEGO League Robotics competition, by instituting mentoring of the middle school teams plus hosting of the Bergen Brickfest N.J. FLL Qualifying Tournament.
Lisa Ruggieri - Management Outreach Design
Lisa has been a mentor with the Pascack Pi-oneers for the past 13 years, beginning when her son was a founding team member. She founded the Pascack Pi-oneers Parent Association, serving as President and currently is Team Liaison. She is the Non-Technical/Team Outreach Lead Mentor, guiding the Pi-oneers to the many non-robot awards they have won. Lisa is liaison to the FIRST LEGO League teams the Pi-oneers mentor, and recruited those school districts to join FIRST and start their own teams. She co-coached one of those teams at their inception and also began two FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams in district elementary schools as well as in a local library. Lisa is also Lead Mentor for Team Fundraising, reaching out to parents, community and corporations.
Jack Teadore - Programming - Electrical
Jack has been a mentor with the Pascack Pi-oneers for the past 13 years. He received his Masters Degree from NYU Polytechnic University in Computer Science and a graduate certificate in Computer Security from Stevens Institute of Technology. He brings with him a knowledge of electronics and programming. Jack has worked for several Internet companies designing and constructing communications systems and today has his own consulting company. In his role as the Control Systems Mentor, he teaches team members advanced methods for programming the robot along with the use of sensors to enable the robot to accomplish its tasks. He also co- coaches a 3-time New Jersey State Championship FIRST LEGO League Team and during that time the team won the FLL World Championship Research/Project Award. Jack has also previously taught robotics at the Gifted Child Society in Allendale New Jersey.
Steve Mertz - Carpentry
Steve has been a mentor with the Pascack Pi-oneers for the past nine years. He is a National Service Delivery Manager with Xerox Corporation providing advanced networked business solutions to Large Enterprise Operations. Steve has a degree in Electronics Technology and is a Certified Technical Trainer. He mentors the Carpentry and Mechanical Sub teams. Steve’s daughter Nicole is an Alumni of the team and he credits her with getting him involved with the Pi-oneers.
Joe Pantalone - Mechanical
Joe has mentored the Pi-oneers for nine years with the Mechanical Sub-Division and he trains the novice mechanical group members during Pi-Tech Academy. He is a market manager for a composite materials distributor and is an expert in the field of composite materials, specializing in foam core and balsa core fiberglass-reinforced structures. Joe is the proud parent of a Pi-oneer alumnus and has continued on with the team after his daughter's graduation.
James "Doc" Whitfield - Mechanical
Jim has been a mentor with the Pascack Pioneers for the past seven years. He has an undergraduate degree in Animal Science and Biology. His Master's Degree and Ph.D is in Anatomy and Pathology from the University of Kentucky. Jim teaches Biology, Anatomy & Physiology and Ethics. Prior to coming to Pascack Hills High School, Jim had worked as a research associate and taught at several different universities including the University of California San Diego, Purdue University and Veteran's Affairs Hospital at the University of Utah. Jim works as an all around team mentor helping out wherever is needed and helping to keep kids organized and on task as well as transporting the robot and equipment to and from competitions. Jim has travelled extensively in Europe and South America. He is committed to education and currently serves as a science curriculum advisor to a group of private schools in India.
Ilene Rein - Management Outreach Design
Mrs. Rein is a Mentor for the Non-Tech Division working with the marketing, animation, web site and media teams for the past six years. She is also Co-President of the Pascack Pi-oneer Parents Association. Her early career was in Design and Marketing. She is currently a Senior Recruiter at Marketing & Sales Resources, Inc. which specializes in the Executive Search for Marketing and Sales professionals in the industrial products, B2B channels. Combining her marketing and recruiting backgrounds, she developed the business Pounding Pavement 101 which provides workshops, lectures and private consulting to young adults entering the workforce in job hunting, how to write a resume, digital presence, interview preparation all from the view of a Recruiter. Mrs. Rein’s son is an alumnus of the Pi-oneers and her daugher is a senior on the team.
Adam Ostrowski - Mechanical
Adam has been a mentor for the Pascack Pi-oneers for five years He received his BS in Industrial Arts from Kean University and has been an industrial technology teacher for 22 years. The last five years have been at Pascack Hills and Pascack Valley. He has assisted the team with the Carpentry, Chassis and Mechanical Sub-Divisions.
Robert Nussbaum - Management Outreach Design
Rob is a mentor for the team's Non-Tech Sub-Division. This is his 4th year as a mentor for the Pi-oneers. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, earned a law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law, and is an attorney who specializes in civil litigation. Rob’s son was a four-year member of Team 1676 and, after his son graduated in 2014, Rob continued volunteering to assist the Pi-oneers with fundraising and writing grants to obtain corporate sponsorships. In addition to his time with the Pi-oneers, Rob also works with a not-for-profit organization, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, by providing legal services to low-income debtors in the area of consumer law.
DJ Solleder - Electrical
DJ has been a mentor with the Pascack Pi-Oneers for the past four years. He received his bachelor's degree from NJIT in Mechanical Engineering and then completed a four year electrical apprenticeship for the IBEW. On the Pi-oneers, he mentors the Electrical Sub-Division. He has worked in the electrical construction field since 1984 and has been an electrical instructor since 1989. He has currently the senior instructor for IBEW local 164 in Paramus specializing in the electrical theory, alternate energy, and life safety. As well as served on the National Curriculum development for the electrical industry developing curriculum for fire safety training.
Frances Capodicasa - Safety
Frances has been a mentor of the Pascack Pi-oneers for the past four years, working with the Awards Sub-Division. She was a former Co-president and serves as an advisor to the Pascack Pi-oneers Parents Association. She received her undergraduate Degree from Glassboro State University in Communications with specialization in Journalism and concentration in Creative Writing and Graphic Design. In the years following she returned to school and obtained not only her RN degree but also national certification as a Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurse. Currently employed by Select Specialty Hospital, she heads the Wound Care Department. Mrs. Capodicasa’s daughter graduated in 2016.
Carl Kiel - Mechanical
Carl has been a mentor with the Pascack Pi-oneers for three years. He received his MBA from LIU, MSEE from NYU, and his BEE from CCNY. Carl worked at BAE SYSTEMS as Senior Principle Systems Engineer and developed mobile communications systems for the digitized US ARMY, and navigation systems for bombers, fighters and missiles. In his role as mentor, Carl has contributed to the Engineering Notebook, provides senior level input during robot requirements development, provides assessor inputs during robot design reviews and provides support to the electronics team.
Tom Gilbert - Mechanical
Tom has been a mentor for the Mechanical Division for the past five years to support both his grandsons as they became Pi-oneer members. After graduating from California State Polytechnic College with a BS degree in Aeronautical Engineering, he gained invaluable experience working as an engineer. Tom worked for Douglas Aircraft, involved in the development of the A3D carrier based strategic bomber for the US Navy; at Aerospace Corporation, in the Athena test rocket launch from Moab , Utah into White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. He also worked at General Dynamics’ Corporation on the development of the Atlas Intercontential Missile used in space exploration, at Grumman Aerospace on the development of the LEM (Apollo Lunar Excursion Module), and at Lesona-Moos Electronics on the development of “penetration aids” for the US Navy Poseidon and Polaris submarine based intermediate range missiles. Before he retired Tom was employed by Maxon Electronics, working on various warfare systems, Riverside Corporation working on various high security classified systems for the Navy and Air Force and lastly was employed by the New York MTA to construct and rebuild the maintenance and overhaul shops for the NYC subway system.
Colleen Guyre - Management Outreach Design
This is Colleen’s first year as a mentor for the Pascack Pi-oneers and her first year participating in FIRST. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University. In the past, she worked in the petroleum and petrochemical industries, designing refinery and chemical plant equipment. Colleen is currently a reliability engineer for electrical distribution as part of O&R utilities. As a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), she has participated in other STEM youth outreach programs and hopes that her participation with this team will inspire female students to pursue a career in engineering.
Michael Herman - ITRC
This is Mike’s first year mentoring the Pi-oneers. In addition to both an MBA and BSE from The Wharton School, he also holds a Bachelors degree in Engineering from The University of Pennsylvania. He has always been a tinkerer, from building electric kits to model rockets, to his current hobby of restoring and rebuilding pinball machines. He loves to take things apart and hopefully reassemble them without too many leftover parts. This makes him well suited for the Mechanical Division. Mike’s daughter Rebecca is a student at Pascack Hills High School but not on the robotics team. Becoming a mentor was her gift to him.

Alumni Mentors


Rob Levy - ITRC
Mr. Levy graduated as a Co-CEO of the team and picked up where he left off, now as mentor of the Info-Tech Sub-Division for the past three years. He also volunteers for FIRST Robotics Competitions. Mr. Levy is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Rob graduated from the Pascack Pi-oneers as Co-CEO of the team and leader of the Information Technology Division in 2009. For the past six years, he has mentored the ITRC Division. Rob earned a degree in Information Technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2013. He currently works as a Network Engineer for NBCUniversal.
Danielle Fischer - Management Outreach Design
Danielle graduated from the Pascack Pi-oneers as Co-CEO of the team and leader of the Non-Tech Division in 2011. For the past five years, she has mentored the Non-Tech Awards Sub-Division. Danielle graduated Stevens Institute of Technology with a BE in Engineering Management and is currently finishing her ME in Systems Engineering. Danielle works at Becton Dickinson (BD) as an IT Leadership Associate. Her work includes managing global projects within IT and architecting new solutions for the organization. During competition season, she volunteers as an FRC Judge at the Mid-Atlantic Region Championship and the FIRST World Championship.
Ryan Hall - Carpentry
Ryan joined the Pascack Pi-oneers as a freshman for the 2010 season. His sophomore year, he became leader of the Carpentry Sub-Division, and was the team Co-CEO during his junior and senior years. Ryan also created the team’s YouTube Channel and the Pi-oneer Alumni Network. After graduating from high school, he continued to support the team as an alumni mentor with the Carpentry Sub-Division. He is currently a senior at the University of Delaware, majoring in Environmental Engineering with a concentration in Environmental Facilities Design and Construction and minoring in both Civil Engineering. The 2017 season marks Ryan’s 8th year with the Pascack Pi-oneers and 4th year as a team mentor.
Ellen Drennan - Management Outreach Design
Ellen graduated from Team 1676 in 2015 after serving as leader of the Non-Technical Division, Awards Sub-Division, and Strategy Sub-Division and drive team coach. She is attending Stevens Institute of Technology, where she is pursuing a major in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Science, Technology, and Society. She mentors the Non-Technical Division as well as the Strategy Sub-Division, imparting knowledge gained from her four-year tenure on the team to current Pi-oneers. Her contributions as a mentor include providing feedback on outreach projects, proofreading awards essays, guiding the Finance Sub-Division on the business plan, and advising the Strategy Sub-Division. Since graduating from high school, Ellen has remained active in the FIRST community as an FLL judge, an FTC robot inspector, and an FTC/FRC referee.
Jenna Malley - Management Outreach Design
Jenna has been a participant in FIRST for 7 years. She is an alumnus of the Pascack Pi-oneers where she was the Non-Tech Leader. Jenna mentors the Pi-oneers and is also a mentor for FIRST Robotics Competition Team 125. She is also a chairperson for her local FIRST LEGO League qualifying tournament and is a chairperson for the local FRC District competition. Jenna is attending Northeastern University working toward her BS in Chemistry.
Jonathan Brizzolara - Mechanical
Jon has been a mentor with the Pascack Pi-oneers for the past 4 years, working with the Mechanical Division and guiding team members on power tool usage. He attended York University and now is employed by a local contractor. Jon graduated from Team 1676 in 2011, completing his four year membership as the Mechanical Division Leader. He also volunteers as a FIRST Robotics Competition robot inspector for the FIRST Mid Atlantic Robotics events.
Jacob Rein - ITRC
Jacob joined the Pi-oneers as a freshman in 2010, after participating on George White Middle School FIRST Lego League team for 3 years. He started on Pi-oneers on the Mechanical Sub-Division and later migrated to Programming. He subsequently became the Founder of the App Sub-Division in his Senior year releasing FRC Playmaker, Lily the Learner and MyGPS (Generate My Project Schedule) to the GooglePlay market. He returns from college on vacations and weekends as an Alumni Mentor to support the team and to teach Android App programming. Jacob received a FIRST Scholarship to Pace University where he studies Computer Science. He remains a part of the FIRST community by volunteering at FTC & FRC competitions.

NEWS

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2017-05-18

The graduating class of 2017 sign their letters of intent as part of FIRST Signing Day!

The graduating class of 2017 sign their letters of intent as part of FIRST Signing Day!

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2017-05-03

Team 1676 and their alliance win at World's in St. Louis! Read here about what happened and how the team celebrated at home.

Team 1676 and their alliance win at World's in St. Louis! Read here about what happened and how the team celebrated at home.

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2017-01-31

The Pascack Pi-oneers host a jewelry fundraiser for the 2017 competition season.

The Pascack Pi-oneers host a jewelry fundraiser for the 2017 competition season.

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2017-01-30

Lodi, Becton Region and Wallington high schools will be starting robotics teams thanks to a grant published by the New Jersey Department of Education.

Lodi, Becton Region and Wallington high schools will be starting robotics teams thanks to a grant published by the New Jersey Department of Education.

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2016-12-19

The Pi-oneers host the first annual STEM Night Out.

The Pi-oneers host the first annual STEM Night Out.

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2016-12-05

The Pascack Pi-oneers hold STEM Night Out, for teaching the next generation and for charity. 

The Pascack Pi-oneers hold STEM Night Out, for teaching the next generation and for charity. 

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2016-10-10

Kids have fun with a movie, LEGOs, and their local FIRST team.

Kids have fun with a movie, LEGOs, and their local FIRST team.

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2016-06-13

Pascack Valley's student-run newspaper talks about the Pi-oneers' accomplishments and interviews team members and mentors.

Pascack Valley's student-run newspaper talks about the Pi-oneers' accomplishments and interviews team members and mentors.

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2016-05-26

Pascack Hills' student-run newspaper commemorates the Pi-oneers' Letter of Intent signing event. 

Pascack Hills' student-run newspaper commemorates the Pi-oneers' Letter of Intent signing event. 

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2016-05-05

Lily the Learner, the Pi-oneers' children's book, is published and on sale for children around the world. 

Lily the Learner, the Pi-oneers' children's book, is published and on sale for children around the world. 

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2016-04-17

Team 223 Xtreme Heat and Team 5624 team up with Team 1676 for an impressive win.

Team 223 Xtreme Heat and Team 5624 team up with Team 1676 for an impressive win.

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2016-04-15

Team 1676 publishes Lily the Learner, to inspire children around the world to pursue STEAM careers. 

Team 1676 publishes Lily the Learner, to inspire children around the world to pursue STEAM careers. 

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2016-04-12

Lily the Learner is published, sparking the interest of girls and boys around the globe in STEAM careers. 

Lily the Learner is published, sparking the interest of girls and boys around the globe in STEAM careers. 

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2016-03-10

The Pi-oneers raise money at Westwood Cinemas for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The Pi-oneers raise money at Westwood Cinemas for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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2016-02-25

At the Westwood Cinema, the Pi-oneers raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

At the Westwood Cinema, the Pi-oneers raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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2016-02-12

Dean Kamen writes about the importance of FIRST robotics, and we're featured in the photo!

Dean Kamen writes about the importance of FIRST robotics, and we're featured in the photo!

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2016-02-11

The Pi-oneers continue to advocate for funding for mentor-based STEAM programs in schools, especially underserved areas.

The Pi-oneers continue to advocate for funding for mentor-based STEAM programs in schools, especially underserved areas.

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2016-02-05

Pi-oneers reach out to New Jersey to expand robotics teams across the state. 

Pi-oneers reach out to New Jersey to expand robotics teams across the state. 

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2015-11-26

The Pi-oneers host "LEGOs and a Movie: a Day at the Races".

The Pi-oneers host "LEGOs and a Movie: a Day at the Races".

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2015-02-19

The Pi-oneers team up with the Westwood Movie Theatre to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The Pi-oneers team up with the Westwood Movie Theatre to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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2014-07-24

Pi-oneers traveled to the National Advocacy Conference in Washington.

Pi-oneers traveled to the National Advocacy Conference in Washington.

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2013-11-28

In response to natural disasters around the world, students across the Pascack Valley learn how to help people and the environment with their FIRST Lego League teams after a natural disaster.

In response to natural disasters around the world, students across the Pascack Valley learn how to help people and the environment with their FIRST Lego League teams after a natural disaster.

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2013-11-04

Pi-oneers take a trip to BMW to see engineering in action.

Pi-oneers take a trip to BMW to see engineering in action.

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2013-10-31

The Pi-oneers go to BMW to thank them for their continuing sponsorship.

The Pi-oneers go to BMW to thank them for their continuing sponsorship.

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2013-09-26

Members of Team 1676 visit one of their longtime Gold Sponsors: BMW.

Members of Team 1676 visit one of their longtime Gold Sponsors: BMW.

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2013-05-16

Team 1676 exceed through their ninth competitive season.

Team 1676 exceed through their ninth competitive season.

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2012-10-14

New Jersey Science & Engineering Festival at Clifton High School was a huge hit, and Team 1676 was there!

New Jersey Science & Engineering Festival at Clifton High School was a huge hit, and Team 1676 was there!

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2012-02-09

The Pascack Pi-oneers do more than just build a robot, they work to inspire others into the same careers that make them so passionate about what they do.

The Pascack Pi-oneers do more than just build a robot, they work to inspire others into the same careers that make them so passionate about what they do.

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Team 1676 hosts a FIRST LEGO League Jr. Camp at the River Vale Public Library.

Team 1676 hosts a FIRST LEGO League Jr. Camp at the River Vale Public Library.

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The FIRST website on the significance of robotics as a varsity sport, and the Pi-oneers are featured in the photo!

The FIRST website on the significance of robotics as a varsity sport, and the Pi-oneers are featured in the photo!

ROBOTS

Robot Related Awards
Quality
2
Judges Award
2
Industrial Design
1
On Field
World Champion Winner
1
Winner
9
Finalist
3
Quarter-Finalist
12
Semi-Finalist
7
2017
Game: FIRST Steamworks
Robot Name: Brazin'
Capabilities:
can acquire and place gears onto a horizantal spring "peg" in autonomous and teleop
can acquire yellow balls called fuel off of the floor and shoot them into a high boiler
can climb onto a rope at the end of the game
2016
2016 robot
Game: FIRST Stronghold
Robot Name: Leonardo
Capabilities:
Able to go over all defenses
Score/shoot in the low goal
2015
2015 robot
Game: Recycle Rush
Robot Name: Reaper
Capabilities:
Created stacks of up to six totes, with a recycling container on top
Could pick up sideways totes and tipped over recycling containers
2014
2014 robot
Game: Aerial Assist
Robot Name: Nightwing
Capabilities:
Able to catch and shoot balls
Scored into the low and high goal
2013
2013 robot
Game: Ultimate Ascent
Robot Name: Sidewinder
Capabilities:
Able to shoot frisbees while stationary and moving
Multiple drive speeds
Able to hang from level one of pyramid at the end of the match for bonus points
2012
2012 robot
Game: Logomotion
Robot Name: Iron Horse
Capabilities:
Able to score two basketballs during Hybrid Mode
Able to pick up basketballs off the ground to score into the 2 point and 3 point goals
Able to shoot from the bridge, key, and against the fender
Able to go over both the bridge and barrier
Able to balance on the bridge alone or with one or two other robots at the end of the match for bonus points
2011
2011 robot
Game: Logomotion
Robot Name: Mantisaurus
Capabilities:
Able to pick tubes off the ground and score on all three levels of the rack
Deployed a Minibot during the end of the match that could climb the pole in seconds for bonus points
2010
2010 robot
Game: Breakaway
Robot Name: Weeble
Capabilities:
Able to score up to 3 soccer balls during Autonomous Mode
Able to drive over the bumps across the field
Able to control and kick soccer balls into goals
Able to hang during the end of the match for bonus points
2009
2009 robot
Game: Lunacy
Robot Name: Apollo
Capabilities:
Turreted shooter could shoot Orbit Balls into opponents’ trailers
Able to pick up Orbit Balls off the ground
2008
2008 robot
Game: FIRST Overdrive
Robot Name: Landshark
Capabilities:
Able to pick up Trackballs off the ground, and place them on or over the Overpass
Could place Trackballs on the Overpass during the end of the match for bonus points
2007
2007 robot
Game: Rack ‘n’ Roll
Robot Name: Johnny 5
Capabilities:
Used suction to pick up tubes off the ground
Able to put tubes on first and second level of the Spider
Able to lift one other robot 4” off the ground during the end of the match for bonus points
2006
2006 robot
Game: Aim High
Robot Name: Clyde
Capabilities:
Able to pick up Poof Balls off the ground and shoot them into the high goal
Could get up on top of the ramp during the end of the match for bonus points
2005
2005 robot
Game: Triple Play
Robot Name: Scorpion
Capabilities:
Had articulating arm to lift Tetras onto goals
Could stack Tetras onto other Tetras on goals

GET INVOLVED

Recruitment Activities

Team 1676 proudly spreads the message of FIRST throughout their school district. The recruiting process begins early—just as sports leagues employ teams for young children to work their way up to high school teams, the Pi-oneers do the same with robotics. Young students in elementary school are encouraged to join the FLL Jr. teams at the library; they meet the team during their Brownie or Cub Scout meetings or attend the Pi-oneer science programs held at their local library. Many students have joined the FLL teams as a result of attending LEGOs & a Movie, held for those in Kindergarten through Grade six. This year more students and their parents will meet the team at the River Vale Innovation & Science Fair. Many parents look forward to team events and plan to have their child join FIRST Robotics in middle school.

The Pi-oneers mentor the six FLL teams in their district which in turn is an excellent source of new membership. During the Bergen FLL Qualifying Tournament run by the team, future members witness the teamwork, dedication and fun had by the Pi-oneers. The team also includes the 6 teams in the Annual Fall Carwash each year to bond with them and provide encouragement to join the team when they arrive in high school. Team 1676 provides a program during Eighth Grade Orientations at both high schools in order to introduce incoming freshmen to their team. In the spring, they visit the middle schools to give a presentation explaining what FIRST is, who the Pi-oneers are and what the team does. The team visits with Girl Scout troops and Boy Scout troops, and even though they may not all be in the team’s school district, the Pi-oneers promote FIRST membership.

Team 1676 participates in not only Back-to-School Nights at each high school introducing parents to the team and FIRST, but also Freshman Orientation Days. Contacted by the team liaison to the FLL teams, the FLL coaches send a list of their graduates to ensure the Pi-oneers reach out to them personally. At the beginning of each new school year, team members visit freshman Biology classes to recruit new members. New this year is a recruitment video shown during the presentation. Almost thirty new members initially joined the team, consisting of both freshmen and upperclassmen, proving it is never too late to become a Pi-oneer! Team members recruit their friends, and siblings to become members after learning about the team at home and from visiting on weekends.

The Pi-oneers meet potential FIRST members at every event they attend. For many years the team has participated in two local Memorial Day Parades which results in team recognition for other events. During the local town days the team not only provides robot demonstrations but also hands out literature for all levels of FIRST. Many students have been recruited to join the local teams, and parents eagerly listen to the details.

The Pascack Pi-oneers realize their success lies in not only the present but also the future. The younger generation is the key to team sustainability and the team has made them their focus.

Recruitment Video
Get Involved
Membership
Membership to join the Pascack Pi-oneers officially opens in September. Please return at that time to find the application form. We look forward to seeing you!
Volunteering
Volunteering for FIRST or the Pascack Pi-oneers is appreciated but also essential. Our team is grateful for the volunteer mentors who guide and teach our team members to be the best they can be every year. To be considered for a mentor position please email: information@team1676.com. To volunteer for FIRST visit: http://www.firstinspires.org/ways-to-help/volunteer

SPONSORSHIP

TEAM SHIRT



DONATE NOW! (PayPal)



SPONSORSHIP

TEAM SHIRT



DONATE NOW! (PayPal)



VARSITY STATUS

Varsity People
Our Path to Academic Varsity Status

In 2005, the Pascack Pi-oneers began breaking ground on their long-awaited goal of achieving Academic Varsity Letter status. The team conducted extensive research through communication with other FRC teams who already obtained Academic Varsity Letters- FIRST Robotics Competition Teams 11 Mort, 303 The Test Team, and 3142 Aperture. With the information and guidance supplied by them, the Pi-oneers approached the Board of Education and petitioned for their own Academic Varsity Status.

The Pi-oneers put together a thorough presentation that included why the team deserved Varsity recognition, an overview of the criteria, and a list of FIRST teams that had previously obtained Academic Varsity Letter status. Along with an overview of the Pi-oneers team structure and organization, a list of accomplishments was presented. Finally, with the support of the superintendent, principals, athletic directors, and the Board of Education, the notion passed and the Pi-oneers were awarded Academic Varsity Status in 2015.

After their success of obtaining Academic Varsity Status, the Pi-oneers implemented their own specific set of criteria for eligible team members. During the first recognition ceremony, 12 Pascack Pi-oneers met the criteria for Academic Varsity Status through their commitment and contributions to the team, and 7 team members received their letters the following year. These Varsity team members were recognized at the Winter Pep Rally at Pascack Hills High School for the first time in 2015. The success of the Pi-oneers inspired other academic teams in the Pascack Valley Regional High School District to consider applying for Academic Varsity Status as well.

The Pi-oneers are extremely grateful to everyone who helped them earn this honor. Being recognized as a team, not just a club, motivates the Pi-­oneers to push their own boundaries and to keep expanding their impact on the community and the world.

Academic Varsity Letter Status Bill A. 3879

The Pascack Pi-oneers are partnering with New Jersey State Assemblyman Ciattarelli to support the bill sponsored by him pertaining to Academic Varsity Letter status for Robotics as well as other non-sport competitive academic teams. The proposed Bill A. 3879, also sponsored by Assemblyman Troy Singleton and co-sponsored by Assemblyman Coughlin, provides school districts the opportunity to recognize competitive school-sponsored, interscholastic extracurricular activities and those team members for Academic Varsity Letter Status after achieving high standards and goals required to be considered. As of February, Bill A. 3879 is sponsored by Troy Singleton, Jack Ciattarelli, Robert Auth, Craig Coughlin, and Holly Schepisi.

As a FIRST Robotics Competition Team, the Pi-oneers are advocating for this bill to be passed. There are approximately 80 FIRST Robotics Competition Teams throughout New Jersey, only 7 teams have Academic Varsity Letter Status. This bill will provide all teams with the ability to grant Academic Varsity Letter Status to their members, recognizing their hard work, long hours, and dedication to achieving their goal of actively pursuing excellence in their chosen interscholastic activity.

Assemblyman Ciatterelli suggested all New Jersey FIRST teams contact their local government representatives to ask them to support this Bill. The Pi-oneers reached out to FIRST Robotics Competition Teams in New Jersey, sending sample emails, a list of their local representatives, and information about Bill A. 3879 to recruit more sponsors for the bill.

This bill needs to be approved by both the Senate and Assembly Committees. Visit this page for the current status.

VARSITY PACKET
Download PDF

CONTACT

Pascack Pi-oneers
225 West Grand Avenue

Contact Info



Phone

201-358-7020 x. 22023
Please ask for Mr. Adam Ostrowski

Note: This is the Technology Education Office and Adam Ostrowski is a coach on the team.

Mail

Mr. Kevin Killian
Pascack Hills High School
225 West Grand Avenue
Montvale, NJ 07645

FAX

201-358-7019
Please include a cover sheet: Pascack Pi-oneers

-Attention Mr. Kevin Killian.

Questions

information@team1676.com

AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS

2017

Chesapeake District - Southwest Virginia
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Entrepreneurship Award
  • Industrial Safety Award
Bridgewater-Raritan District
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Chairman's Award
Montgomery District
  • Semi-Finalist
  • Engineering Inspiration Award
FIRST Mid Atlantic Robotics
  • Dean's List Semi-Finalist: Jessie Belden, Suraj Pandya
FIRST Championship Daly Sub Division
  • Winner
FIRST Championship Daly-Archimedes Division
  • Winner
  • Entrepreneurship Award
FIRST St. Louis Championship

2016

Mt. Olive MAR District
  • Winner
  • Entrepreneurship Award
  • Industrial Safety Award
Buckeye Regional
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Chairman's Award
  • Safety Hard Hat Award
Bridgewater-Raritan MAR District
  • Winner
  • Engineering Inspiration Award
Mid Atlantic Robotics FIRST District Championship
  • Dean's List Finalist: Kayla Vincent
  • Engineering Inspiration Award
FIRST World Championship
  • Newton Division Quarter-Finalist
  • Safety Hard Hat Award
  • Newton/Hopper Division Engineering Inspiration Award
  • Dave Lavery Award for Excellence in Animation- Judges Award

2015

Mt. Olive MAR District
  • Semi-Finalist
  • Engineering Inspiration Award
Waterloo Regional
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Entrepreneurship Award
  • Industrial Safety Award
Bridgewater-Raritan MAR District
  • Winner
  • Chairman’s Award
  • Industrial Safety Award
Mid-Atlantic FIRST Robotics District Championship
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Entrepreneurship Award
  • Industrial Safety Award
FIRST World Championship - Newton/Hopper Division
  • Semi-Finalist
  • Industrial Safety Award - Newton/Hopper Division
  • Bart Kamen Memorial FIRST Scholarship Recipient - Noah Shields

2014

Mt. Olive MAR District
  • Semi-Finalist
  • Entrepreneurship Award
  • Safety Hard Hat Award
Clifton MAR Dstrict
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Entepreneurship Award
  • Safety Hard Hat Award
Bridgewater-Raritan MAR District
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Engineering Inspiration Award
  • Safety Hard Hat Award
Mid Atlantic Robotics FIRST District Championship
  • Engineering Inspiration Award
FIRST World Championship
  • Curie Division 35th of 100

2013

Mt. Olive MAR District
  • Finalist
  • Engineering Insiration Award
Bridgewater-Raritan MAR District
  • Winner
  • Entrepreneurship Award
  • Saftey Credit Award
Mid Atlantic Robotics FIRST District Championship
  • Semi-Finalist
  • Engineering Inspiration Award
FIRST World Championship - Newton Division
  • Semi-Finalist

2012

Rutgers Mar District
  • Winner
  • Entrepreneurship Award
NYC Regional
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Entrepreneurship Award
Mid Atlantic Robotics FIRST District Championship
  • Semi-Finalist
  • Woodie Flowers Finalist Award-Don Rotolo
Virginia Regional
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • FIRST Website Excellence Award

2011

New Jersey Regional
  • Winner
  • Coopertition
  • NJ FIRST Hall of Fame - Rob Levy
Virginia Regional
  • Quarter-Finalist
FIRST World Championship - Newton Division
  • Winner
  • Entrepreneurship Award
  • Industrial Safety Award

2010

New Jersey Regional
  • Winner
  • Entrepreneurship Award
  • Dean's List Finalist - Ethan Hayon
  • NJ FIRST Hall of Fame - Elizabeth Rosalia
Virginia Regional
  • Winner
  • GM Industrial Design Award
FIRST World Championship - Curie Division
  • Finalist

2009

Palmetto Regional
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Chairman's Award
  • Judges Award
FIRST World Championship - Galileo Division
  • 35th of 86
  • FIRST Website Excellence Award

2008

New Jersey Regional
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Chairman's Award
Greater Toronto Regional
  • Quarter-Finalist
  • Chrysler Team Spirit Award
FIRST World Championship - Galileo Division
  • 18th of 86
  • FIRST Website Excellence Award

2007

FIRST Vex Challenge Garden State Rumble Champion
New Jersey Regional
  • Semi-Finalist
  • Website Award
  • Johnson and Johnson Sportsmanship Award
  • Motorola Quality Award
Buckeye Regional
  • Motorola Quality Award
FIRST World Championship - Newton Division
  • FIRST Website Excellence Award

2006

New Jersey Regional
  • Judge's Award
  • Safety Hard Hat Award
Palmetto Regional
  • Finalist
  • FIRST Website Excellence Award

2005

New Jersey Regional
  • Rookie All Star Award

Our Total Awards
FIRST World Champion
1
Chairman's
6
Engineering Inspiration
9
Entrepreneurship
12
Industrial Safety
5
Safety Hard-Hat
5
Website Excellence
7
Spirit
1
Rookie All-Star
1
Sportsmanship
1
Cooperation
1
Individual Awards
Woodie Flowers
1
Dean List Finalists
2
NJ FIRST Hall of Fame
2
Robot Related
Quality
2
Judges Award
2
Industrial Design
1
On Field
Winner
9
Finalist
3
Semi-Finalist
7
Quarter-Finalist
12

TEAM TIMELINE

ADVOCACY FOR NJ MENTOR BASED STEAM PROGRAMS

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Advocacy for NJ Mentor Based STEAM Programs
In June, team representatives attended the FIRST National Advocacy Conference (NAC) hosted by FRC Team 27, RUSH, in Washington, D.C.. They spoke with governors, congressmen, and senators to form valuable relationships with their government officials and advocate for STEAM education legislation. Other items discussed at NAC included the positive effect of FIRST on school districts and issues teams, especially those in underserved areas, often face. NAC provided students with an inside look at issues in education policy and an opportunity to influence positive change.

The Pi-oneers were inspired by Team Rush’s establishment of NAC and decided to bring the program back to New Jersey where Advocacy for New Jersey Mentor-Based STEAM Programs was established. Meetings with government officials have been conducted to promote the allocation of federal funding from the reauthorization of ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act). The funding is to be distributed to underserved schools in the state of New Jersey for after school MBSP (Mentor Based STEAM Programs). Attendees of the organizational meeting included Senior Policy Advisor Marci Green from Governor Christie’s office, Assemblyman Robert Auth, New Jersey Commissioner of Education David Hespe, Assistant Commissioner of Innovation Evo Popoff, Bergen County Interim Executive Superintendent Norah Peck, as well as Pascack Valley Regional High School District Superintendent Erik Gunderson, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Dr. Barry Bachenheimer, District Director of Science and Technology Education Dr. Aarti Mallya, Principal of Pascack Valley H.S. Tom DeMaio, and Principal of Pascack Hills H.S. Glenn DeMarrais.

The presentation was well received. The Commissioner of Education immediately stated, “Let’s make this happen” and gave assignments to all the attendees. With the assistance of the Commissioner of Education’s office, team members met with our targeted schools to introduce Mentor-Based STEAM Programs. The Pi-oneers spoke about creating a FIRST team, but discussed other options available including Science Olympiad.

In June of 2016, the Pi-oneers were given a grant from the New Jersey Department of Education to begin FIRST Tech Challenge teams in underserved districts in New Jersey. Receiving this grant was inspiring. The Pi-oneers traveled to the state capitol building in Trenton, New Jersey, to further our Advocacy campaign. Team members also returned to the National Advocacy Conference later that month in Washington, D.C., and spoke about our path to success and obtaining our grant. During the summer, the Pi-oneers began planning their own Advocacy Conference for the state of New Jersey. The Pi-oneers mission is to create Mentor Based STEAM Programs for underserved schools and to express the importance of STEAM education to all.
FIRST
Annual Conference
On October 22, 2017 the Pascack Pi-oneers hosted the FIRST Annual New Jersey Advocacy Conference. In the state of New Jersey, there are school districts who are unable to provide programs such as FIRST. The Pi-oneers are working toward making funding available, and more advocates and mentors are needed for these teams.

During our conference, we shared our goal of implementing Mentor Based STEAM Programs (MBSPs) in underserved areas of New Jersey. Teams met to discuss the effects of these programs and brought in several guest speakers including Assemblyman Robert Auth, and Bergen County Superintendent of Schools Norah Peck. At the conference, teams were informed about the impact FIRST has on high school students, given tips on how to make appropriate presentations, and reviewed the importance of mentorship. These points will help implement MBSPs in New Jersey and raise awareness about the importance of receiving the maximum amount of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) funding.

CALENDAR

THE PASCACK PI-ONEER PARENTS ASSOCIATION (PI-PARENTS)

The Pascack Pi-oneer Parents Association (Pi-Parents) contributes greatly to the team by organizing nightly dinners during Build Season, host the Kickoff Lunch, coordinate carpooling, sell team spiritwear, organize the Team Picnic and keep friends & family informed about team activities. The Pi-oneers are very thankful for the efforts of their coaches, mentors and parents who enable the team to reach high levels of success.

Contact Us: piparents@team1676.com

PI-PARTNERS

In 2015, the team initiated Pi-Partners, a program that allows the Pi-oneers to donate monetary or material aid to underfunded or developing teams. This program is funded through various bake sales hosted at our High Schools.

Teams Assisted


2016
FRC 3339 - Israel → BumbleB
FRC 5554 - Israel → The Poros
FRC 5655 - Istanbul, Turkey
FRC 228 - Meriden, Connecticut → Gus Robotics

2015
FRC 5511 - Cary, North Carolina → Cortechs Robotics
FRC 5640 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania → Pegasus Robotics
FRC 4475 - Newark, New Jersey → Terrier Bryte Bots
FTC 7555 - Riverside, California → RoboZilla

Team members constantly strive to educate others in STEAM subjects, with a focus on children, the future of STEAM and FIRST. The Pi-oneers are passionate about what they do and apply the concepts practiced at robotics to everyday life. The team’s motto is, “Gracious Professionalism ... Don’t Leave High School Without It!

Check out the FIRST Homepage!

ABOUT FIRST

What is FIRST?
As a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team, the Pascack Pi-oneers annually design and construct a robot to participate in the current year’s game within the six weeks of Build Season. FIRST is more than robots, providing opportunities for team members to contribute to their team by non-mechanical means.

The goal of Team 1676 is to meet the challenges of FRC by valuing teamwork, camaraderie, community service, Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition. Through team participation, members attain confidence from hands-on experiences lead by dedicated mentors. They learn leadership skills and are inspired to mentor others during Build Season and throughout the year.

Team members constantly strive to educate others in STEAM subjects, with a focus on children, the future of STEAM and FIRST. The Pi-oneers are passionate about what they do and apply the concepts practiced at robotics to everyday life. The team’s motto is, “Gracious Professionalism ... Don’t Leave High School Without It!
FIRST Mission Statement
The mission statement of FIRST is “to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”
Why is STEAM Important?
FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1676 the Pascack Pi-oneers is focused to include and inspire members to become the next generation of innovators. The evolution of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to include the Arts expands the potential for FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) teams to embrace the abilities and talents of all team members. More than just robots, FIRST celebrates the amalgamation of art: Computer-Aided Design, prototyping, Engineering Notebooks, graphics, and fabrication in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math).


Dean Kamen

Founder, FIRST President, DEKA Research & Development Corporation




Woodie Flowers

FIRST Executive Advisory Board Co-Chair & Distinguished Advisor




Don Bossi

President, FIRST


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