Schools for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students in the Southeast Gather at Their First-ever Robotics Event

Dallas, TX – FEBRUARY 25, 2019 – The first-ever student robotics tournament in the Southeast region with robotics teams comprised of all Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, hosted by The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation in partnership with the NTID Regional STEM Center (NRSC), will be held March 2 at the North Carolina School for the Deaf.

The event will offer a series of robotic game challenges, testing students’ prowess for engineering by competing with their custom-built robots, while building their career and life skills such as communications, creative problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration.

This tournament is being funded by a grant awarded by The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation. The REC Foundation Diversity and Inclusion Southeast District Grant aims to inspire students to pursue education and careers in STEM. This grant provides nine schools for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in the Southeast Region with materials and support for teachers, and matching funds for VEX Robotics Competition kits.

“We need to engage every student, especially those in underserved populations, in the pursuit of STEM education and careers so that we can prepare them for the challenges and demands of the future workforce,” said Dan Mantz, CEO and chairman of the board, The REC Foundation, based in Texas. “Partnerships like this are widening access to STEM so students of all abilities can explore their potential for career success in activities such as robotic engineering competitions and online challenges in web design and CAD engineering.”

Earlier this year, The REC Foundation awarded grant monies to NRSC, a partnership between The Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind. The partnership develops programs for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students so they can compete for STEM jobs after graduation from college. The partnership services Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in nine states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The Southeast schools that received the REC Foundation Diversity and Inclusion Grants are:

  • North Carolina School for the Deaf, Morganton
  • Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Talladega
  • Tennessee School For Deaf, Knoxville
  • Georgia School For The Deaf, Cave Spring
  • Eastern North Carolina School For The Deaf, Wilson
  • Broward County Schools, Fort Lauderdale
  • Florida School For The Deaf And Blind, St. Augustine
  • Atlanta Area School For The Deaf, Clarkston
  • Kentucky School for the Deaf, Danville
  • Mississippi School For The Deaf, Jackson

School officials said that, with the exception of North Carolina School for the Deaf, none of the schools had robotics teams prior to receiving the REC Foundation grant.

“We’ve received a lot of enthusiasm and support for this tournament,” said Harry Wood, STEM Outreach Trainer - Technology/Robotics/DeafKidsCode, NTID Regional STEM Center in Talladega, AL. “We are committed to expanding access to robotics education to students of various abilities by helping more schools set up new VEX teams for next year’s Tournament.” For more information, please e-mail

The REC Foundation offers students a progression of opportunities beginning in elementary school through college and in the workforce, leading to rewarding careers in STEM fields. The REC Foundation is supported by major corporations including the Northrup Grumman Foundation, Google, Texas Instruments and Dell. For more information on the REC Foundation, visit

EDITOR’S NOTE: The tournament will be held in the Underhill Gymnasium at the North Carolina School for the Deaf, on 517 W. Fleming Drive. Doors open to the public at 8am – closing ceremonies begin at 3pm. Click here for the full Tournament agenda: Media guests can park at Alumni Field near the event location.  Media must have ID that specifies organization/agency affiliation, which need to be worn while on campus.

About the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation (REC) Foundation

The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation's mission is to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, affordable, and sustainable robotics engineering programs.

About VEX Robotics

VEX Robotics is a leading provider of educational and competitive robotics products to schools, universities, and robotics teams around the world. The VEX IQ and VEX EDR product lines span elementary, middle, and high schools with accessible, scalable, and affordable robotics solutions. Beyond science and engineering principles, a VEX Robotics project encourages teamwork, leadership, and problem solving among groups. It allows educators to easily customize projects to meet the level of students’ abilities as they inspire & prepare the STEM problem-solvers of tomorrow.


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