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Gala set to benefit local youth robotics programs

School-aged children from the Nye County area are readying to put months of work in the area of robotics, programming and other related fields on display in Pahrump during the 2nd Annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Coalition Robotics Gala.

The gala, hosted by Pahrump Southern Nye County 4-H, is set to occur from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Jan. 17 at Valley Electric Association’s conference center at 800 E. Highway 372. The event, a combination of fundraiser and demonstration, will encompass displays of working robots, a chance to meet local kids involved in the program and competitions and have some complementary food and refreshments.

Ashley Hall, a leader at Pahrump 4-H and of the all-girls robotics team, the Valkyries, said the gala is going to support all Pahrump teams involved in robotics competitions under FIRST’s group of programs.

The Pahrump area has some 14 teams that work at several levels involved in FIRST. The list of programs includes FIRST LEGO League Jr., FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition. Involvement in some of these programs depends upon the age of the participant.

“The kids from all of the teams get to show off their projects or do mock competitions with robots for the community,” Hall said. “We are also raising funds to support the teams as they work to get to national championships, or for next season.”

Hall said there has been support for “the new PVHS (Pahrump Valley High School) Circuit Breakers, and the Valkyries, the all-girls-team, as well as a new FIRST LEGO League team (middle school level). The 4-H FIRST Lego League Jr. team participated again this year, and the coalition helped to support eight new FLL Jr. teams, which operate at the NyE Communities Coalition SAFE Before and After School program.”

This year’s event expands on the first annual event that only supported 4-H’s FIRST Tech Challenge’s high school level team, Awkward Silence, and the 4-H FIRST LEGO League Jr. team.

Hall is expecting 100 to 150 people at the event. No RSVP is required for those who wish to attend.

In addition to light refreshments and snacks, there will also be a silent auction and raffle.

“We have some amazing things up for auction/raffle, including a Golden Knights ticket package, an autographed electric guitar, a Pahrump Dining Package, some amazing local art, and so much more,” Hall said. “We even have a beehive and lessons up for grabs!”

Hall said that “the use of funds is controlled by a youth-led committee where representatives from all teams are encouraged to participate. Adult leaders from the Southern Nye County 4-H assist with the procedural aspects, but overall this is a youth-led venture. The funds raised will be put toward things like supplies for teams, travel for competitions, and other necessities that come up during the course of a season.”

Hall is hoping to raise a considerable amount more than the $2,000 that was raised in last year’s gala event, as they are now looking to support 14 teams instead of just two.

Some local sponsors that have supported Pahrump’s teams in the past include “Frontsight, Java Junkies, Do It Best, Home Depot, Great Computer Deals, Mom’s Diner, The Pahrump Arts Council, and Your Woodshop,” Hall said.

Other sponsors that have recently gotten involved include The Hubb, Nico’s Pizza, Romero’s and many others.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com

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