I am writing to correct Rachel Beckman’s portrayal of the Roosevelt robotics team’s success as the product of one student’s heroics instead of as the actual collaborative effort of many students, teachers, mentors, and administrators (“Blood, Sweat, and Gears,” 4/14). All team members demonstrated an incredible level of commitment and dedication, meeting after school for several hours Monday through Friday and occasionally on Saturdays. At the end of the six-week build period, these meetings sometimes went as late as 10 or 11 p.m. on weekdays. Incredible sacrifices were made by students, teachers, and mentors alike to achieve the final product—the robot.
The real story here is that despite limited resources and no prior experience, a truly diverse group of students formed a cohesive team to bring a quality robot to competition. That in itself is newsworthy. This article was an opportunity to highlight something positive that touched an entire school and engaged students in their education in the District of Columbia Public Schools, which unfortunately is the exception rather than the rule. The robotics program enriched these students’ academic experiences, gave them valuable engineering and teamwork skills, and brought a lot of parental involvement to the school.
Rachel Beckman began shadowing the team under the premise that she would be writing an article tracking the Roosevelt robotics team, not profiling a single student. The students trusted Ms. Beckman and shared their motivations and aspirations for the team under the premise that the article would be about the entire team. She clearly misled them about the focus of the article. The students accomplished an impressive feat, worked effectively together, and deserve nothing but praise.
Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School