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Welcoming remarks by the Board President of the Oak Park Education Foundation

Welcome to robotics competition
Teammates at work
Kids competing at Robotics competition

Welcoming remarks by Angie Dodd, President of Board, Oak Park Education Foundation.
This event took place at the VEX Robotics Competition, Julian Junior High School in Oak Park, IL, 1/26/2013

• Welcome, fans of our young VEX engineers! I’m Angie Dodd, mother of one past and one present VEX team member – and President of the board of the Oak Park Education Foundation. OPEF is so proud to be responsible for District 97’s VEX Robotics program, which we launched in 2005 with a handful of students and just 4 robots competing against each other.
• You can see how much our program has grown! Today we not only provide more than 80 students each year with a thrilling, educational engineering experience, professional and high school mentors, and state-of-the-art equipment, but we are raising our ability level every year. I hope you’ve heard that 3 of our teams qualified for the National Championship in Omaha last year, and one team placed 2nd in the nation among VEX middle school teams!
• But last year we were the only middle school in Illinois, and this year we decided to change that so that we can host an official VEX middle school competition, where teams can qualify to go on to Nationals. And we were successful! There are now 10 middle school teams in Illinois, and 7 of these teams are a direct result of our networking efforts. We’re proud that several of the new teams are our guests here today.
• As you can imagine, it costs a lot of money to run this program.  And OPEF – which is a nonprofit organization -- is committed to teaching robotics engineering free of charge to all participants.
• So I’m here today to offer you the opportunity to support us! We’re sending around collection jars for anyone who wants to make a donation, and hoping to raise $1,000 here today. We also have a jar at the Competition Café in the Commons, and at the OPEF table outside the auditorium. Or you can go online right now – www.opef.org – and donate there.
• Thank you so much for coming and supporting all our impressive young engineers!

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