Story and photo by Floyd Alvin Galloway
For any dream to become reality there is preparation beforehand. Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, didn’t develop their companies overnight, they were lifelong journeys.
Jalen Goode, a junior at North High School, dreams of becoming a mechanical or electrical engineer. An interest he has had for years, but his dream is not to be an engineer working for someone else, but to own his own engineering firm.
His entrepreneurial traits are something he gained from his father Randy and grandfather former long-time Phoenix councilman Calvin C. Goode.
Goode is a member of Cyberg Mustangs, North’s Robotics Club. His interest in robotics started early in his youth and when he learned North had a robotics club he was in heaven.
The team attended the FRC Kick-Off at Arizona State University, September 12, where hundreds of students from elementary school to high school attended a variety of workshops to gain insight and strategies to make their robotics experience a success.
For Goode the robotics club is a family affair. With both parents helping out, his mother Natalie is a mentor, fundraiser and enthusiastic cheerleader for the club. Which also gets support from his little sister and older brother.
When North’s physics teacher and robotics club advisor, George Cardenas talks about Jalen and the robotics club you can hear the excitement in his voice. “Awe… Jalen is an amazing student! He has the incredible maturity and forethought. I immediately put him in the electrical team because he was very detailed oriented,” said Cardenas.
“When you ask him to do something he will go above and beyond to do it.”
Last year Goode did so well Cardenas promoted him as the main driver of the team. “So he was in charge of the driving team, thinking of strategies on the fly, trouble shooting with the robot itself, communicating with the mechanical team, the programmers. He took on that true leadership role.”
Goode is now one of Cardenas physics students and is doing great things. “He picks up on the concepts pretty quickly. And I do a pretty rigorous course. I don’t let up on the mathematics. He’s an incredible student and definitely has a great amount of skill,” said Cardenas, who attended Carl Hayden and has remarkable story of his own.
Goode credits his teammates for their successes. Last year at the First Robotics Competition (FRC), North placed 4th, the highest in the Phoenix Union High School District, North has made a very good name for them selves at FRC.
The team was one of a a handful schools invited to Boeing Engineers Week, and given a tour of Boeing in Mesa.
The team is hoping to go to three regional competitions this year, but the challenge is to raise the funds for the entrance fee and expenses comes to $5,000 for each competition.
“We need money. We need a lot of money,” states a determined Goode. “We are trying to get to three regionals this year. We have a bunch of different ways for people to help. We have a GoFundMe account, there are tax credits.” They are also having bake sales and other projects to raise the funds.
The varsity sport for the MindTM, FRC combines the excitement of sports with the demands of science and technology. Teams are under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” develop teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against other competitors. It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get. Volunteer mentors help guide each team. Participants have the opportunity to qualify for over $20 million in college scholarships.
“We are trying to place in the regionals and get to the Worlds in Missouri,” stated Goode. The World FRC attracts competitors from around the world. Goode says the team going to the “Worlds” would be a dream come true.
If you would like to assist in making dreams come true, you can contact George Cardenas at North High School in Phoenix.