FIRST® Team 79/Honeywell Aerospace/Career Technical Education Foundation, Inc./GE Aviation and East Lake High School (Team 79 KRUNCH) was established in 1998 by East Lake High School teachers Ms. Kathryn Phebus and Ms. Joyce Svabek. The team continued its success under the leadership of Coach Paul Wahnish, founder of Career Technical Education Foundation, Inc. (CTEF), and founder of the Academy of Engineering at East Lake High School and Middle School.
Paul Wahnish, founder of CTEF and the East Lake High School and East Lake Middle School Academy of Engineering programs
In 2015, Coach Wahnish handed the reins over to Ms. Taycora Canfield, an East Lake High School Teacher who will continue to lead our award-winning team.
Ms. Canfield has been with Pinellas County Schools for almost ten years. She is currently a teacher in the English/Language Arts Department, teaching Intensive Reading to freshmen and sophomore students.
FIRST® Team 79 is strongly supported by its mentors from local businesses such as Honeywell, GE Aviation, and MITRE Corporation who have contributed countless hours of their time inspiring our students. Team members gain confidence, become passionate about engineering, and acquire valuable public speaking skills and experience at robot demonstrations. They also learn how to work together through differences, develop strong relationships with engineers/mentors, become volunteers for FIRST®, mentor younger students within our community, and raise money and supplies for those less fortunate.
FIRST® Team 79 Krunch continues to inspire innovation, self-confidence, communication, and leadership in all of our endeavors. Team 79 has also hosted many Lego League teams, Lego League tournaments, and has assisted Extreme Makeover: Home Edition by building a robotic-themed room for Charlie Dolan and his family. Our Summer Workshop program offers school-aged children the exciting and fulfilling opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge and experience in robotics, basic physics, science, math and technology, while having fun building competitive robots.
Moving forward, Team 79 will strive to continue promoting FIRST® and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) throughout our community and inspiring others to obtain the necessary skills and experience for success in the global marketplace.