In 2002, five students from Lakeside High School, sought ways to apply the STEM concepts they were learning in a fun and engaging way. They formed a Team America Rocketry Competition team to explore STEM outside the classroom. As a result, Science Night Out (SNO) was created to assure sustainability. SNO is an evening of hands-on science for students from 3rd through 6th grade, designed to inspire them to pursue interests in STEM through activities like LEGO robotics. SNO is one of our main fundraisers which allows us to continue participating in programs such as FIRST.
The founders formed Fernbank LINKS to have fun and build rockets together. Along the way, LINKS began to start new DeKalb FLL teams and host trainings and tournaments for teams and students who wanted to learn about LEGO Mindstorm Robots. From outreach, our motto, “Building Robots, Developing Minds, Changing Lives,” was born. Fernbank LINKS has become a thriving organization of highly motivated, enthusiastic students who share a common love for STEM.
From 2004 through 2014, LINKS competed in BEST, a national robotics competition. Through BEST, we learned important skills that gave us confidence to compete in FIRST Robotics. In 2011, we helped the North Atlanta Warbotz, a rookie team, build their mini-bot for their first competition, and after two years the team decided to form an FRC Team, the only one in the DeKalb County School District (DCSD). This is our fourth season of FRC as Team 4468-Fernbank LINKS. In 2014, we joined the JR&D robotics alliance, which supports STEM within our community using robots.
We have a legacy of excellence in BEST and FIRST and our goal this year is to continue. Our broader goal is to expand the impact of our program and link more and more people and networking kids with science.