WHAT WE DO
The Robocats have been advocates for the deaf, heard-of-hearing, and visually impaired since its beginning. The Robocats have always opened their doors to the deaf community in the East Dallas community and at their own school. As a matter of fact, during the 2017-2018 FIRST Technical Challenge (FTC) Season, their sub-team, FTC 13227: Mechanicats, were presented with both the Connect and Motivate awards due to this outreach. In the fall of 2017, the Robocats were invited to a DellEMC conference and invited their interpreter due to the fact that Dell would not provide one. When Michael Dell, himself, saw the interpreter on stage, it opened his eyes to this community and his company has provided accommodations at all of their 75 locations around the world.
In May of 2018, the Robocats partnered with the Dallas Regional Day School Program for the Deaf and showed off their robot at the local elementary school, Mount Auburn.
WHY WE DO IT
Woodrow Wilson is the only high school in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) that provides accommodations for the deaf and hard-of-hearing; simply put, all deaf/hard-of-hearing students in all of DISD go to Woodrow. While there is a large population of hearing impaired students at Woodrow, they often do not participate in extra-curricular activities. Deaf students often go unseen, not just in hallways -- but in day-to-day life. Deafness is the number one birth defect in the United States, and provisions for a good education are rarely in place for them: 75-85% of deaf high school graduates only read at a 3rd to 4th grade level (Blossom School for the Deaf). The Robocats wanted to change that.
The following list is of other teams that have deaf, hearing or visually impaired members. If you know of more, please contact us.
FRC 2016: Mighty Monkey Wrenches (Ewing, New Jersey)
FRC 6536: The Dark Side (Vinton, Iowa)
FRC 1991: Dragons (Hartford, Connecticut)
FRC 5417: Eagle Robotics (Allen, Texas)
FRC 3162: RoBoComm-X (Rochester, New York)
FRC 3223: Robotics of Central Kitsap (Silverdale, Washington)
FRC 5682: Equus Engineering (Mesquite, Texas)
FRC 2468: Team Appreciate (Austin, Texas)