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 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
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.
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 40% 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.
Ready, Set, Speak is a personal endeavor. Looking for a project for her FIRST LEGO League* (FLL) team in middle school in 2014, team member Hailey Kraft was inspired to find a way to help children on the Autism spectrum. Hailey’s brother has Autism and being he was well-acquainted with her team, the project began with everyone’s support.
The CyberHawks, FLL Team 4618 of Holdrum Middle School in River Vale, NJ, worked tirelessly to make Ready, Set, Speak the best they could throughout the season. Their hard work was rewarded- the CyberHawks won first place in the Project judging at the N.J. Bergen County Qualification Competition and won the N.J. State Championship, thereby advancing to the LEGOland North American Open in California. The judges awarded the team second place Champions, a great achievement.
This award-winning team consisted of members Hailey Kraft, Sara Takubo, Claire Dougherty, Elyse Migdal, Maya Sharma, Brianna Jacobson, Luke Sungela, Kyrillos Ayub, and Colin Adamo, and was coached by Matthew Heffernan and Andrew Eisler.
Freshman year began in 2015 for Hailey and her teammate Sara. The two diligent, hard-working students joined the high school robotics team, the Pascack Pi-oneers FIRST Team 1676, with the hope of expanding Ready, Set, Speak to a broader audience and eventually marketing the website.
This amazing project continues to inspire all those who learn about it and those who are working to help children in need. With the help of the mentors and teammates of FIRST Team 1676, Ready, Set, Speak constantly improves.
Hailey, Sara and the Pascack Pi-oneers would like to thank the professionals who have supported Ready, Set, Speak with their valuable time and advice. Please learn more about Kate E. Cerino Britton and Lisa McKay on the website homepage.