Chamber hosts Friends of BEST breakfast Tuesday

Published 11:51 pm Friday, September 21, 2012

Residents are encouraged to rise and shine Tuesday morning for bacon, eggs and a side of education.

The Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce will host “Eggs and Education,” a breakfast meant to promote awareness of the Friends of BEST (boosting engineering, science and technology) in Alabama Program.

The breakfast will be held at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center at 7:30 a.m. Tickets cost $10.

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Friends of BEST in Alabama is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote science, technology, engineering and math in the Alabama school system and encourage students to pursue careers in these fields. Students who participate in the program receive hands-on instruction with robotics.

Johnny Moss, past Robotic Hub director and current advance visualization center director at Wallace Community College, said students who participate in the program receive valuable experience they couldn’t gain elsewhere.

“[The program] tries to train students in skills that are necessary for workforce development,” Moss said.

The program is designed for students who may not wish to attend a four-year college, but instead go directly into the work force, Moss said.

This is the first year that area schools have participated in the program.

“We had a week long summer workshop where students learned about robots, they learned solid work and 3-D modeling,” Moss said.

Local schools participating include Dallas County High School, Martin Middle School, Selma High School and Morgan Academy.

A kick-off event will be held Saturday at Wallace Community College where students will receive kits containing materials they will use to construct a robot. The competition will conclude on Nov. 3 and finalists will then have the opportunity to compete in the regional competition held in December at Auburn University.

“They also do a marketing presentation and an engineering notebook competition,” Moss said.

During the breakfast, locals will learn more about the program and gain information on how to further support it.

“The main purpose of this breakfast is to let the public and community know that businesses are working actively with our education system here in Selma and Dallas County,” said Sheryl Smedley, executive director of the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce.

“They’re making a difference for these students and making sure they’re prepared for a career in the workforce in these areas.”

Moss said although the program is funded through a grant, they are still in need of sponsorships and local mentors who specialize in areas of engineering, science and technology.

“We’re just trying to promote the program,” he said.

For more information on the breakfast and to reserve tickets, call 875-7241.