Curt Bland, Bosque School coach and Director of Information Technology, recently received the Volunteer of the Year Award for his outstanding effort in organizing, setting up, and running VEX Robotics events.
The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to event volunteers who demonstrate commitment and devotion to their community by putting in many hours of hard work with persistence and passion to help make events happen.
“I believe robotics competitions are an excellent way for students to get intense, hands-on practice in design thinking,” said Mr. Bland. “Students are given a game with many problems to solve and they go through the process of brainstorming ideas, prototyping and testing those ideas, and then refining their solutions. Robotics lets students put this process into practice in a physical way. The process also introduces many students to the mechanical and intellectual skills needed to build and program a working robot. The design process is used in every subject taught at Bosque School and in every career or project in the world. Robotics provides a powerful laboratory for learning and practicing the process.”
Mr. Bland started the robotics program in 2015 in the Middle School with LEGO Robotics. The program then expanded to the Upper School in 2016 with VEX Robotics Competition. This year the school is participating in VEX Robotics Competition for all grades.
So far this year, Bosque hosted two events and provided volunteers, including Mr. Bland and other parents, for field setup the night before the events, as well as providing referees, and field resets. Mr. Bland served as emcee for one of the Bosque events and ran the field control software. As emcee, he was responsible for announcing upcoming matches and the start of each match.
For the Garfield STEM Middle School event, Mr. Bland and his volunteers moved Bosque’s field and its many elements to Garfield for setup the night before the event. They also setup Garfield’s displays and field control hardware and software. On the day of the event, Mr. Bland ran the field control software for two fields. He enlisted the support of Bosque math teacher Mr. Tom Allen and Bosque parents who volunteered as referees and did field reset between all matches. Bosque parents, teachers, and staff provided the majority of volunteers for all four events for the Albuquerque VRC Robotics League.
These events would not be possible without the support of faithful volunteers like Mr. Bland!
Mr. Bland has been the Director of Technology at Bosque School since 2011. He has more than 30 years of Information Technology experience, including jobs at the National Institutes of Health and Sandia National Labs. Mr. Bland spent 12 years at the Potomac School in Mclean, Virginia, as Director of Technology Services and coach of the 7th and 8th grade football team. Mr. Bland also spent a year in Japan teaching English and 19 years in the Washington, D.C., area before returning to New Mexico in 2006. Mr. Bland is a native of New Mexico who graduated with a BA in History from UNM.