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September 17, 2004

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September, 2004 | Supporting Education | Southern California

Senator Betty Karnette Presents “Exceptional Educator” Award to Palos Verdes Estates Teacher


Exceptional_EducatorSACRAMENTO – “The Big Spin®” show aired Saturday, September 18, 2004 and featured Graham Robertson of Palos Verdes Estates who received the Lottery’s “Exceptional Educator” Award from Senator Betty Karnette.  Robertson is a remarkable science teacher at Palos Verdes High School in Los Palos Verdes Estates.

His Chemistry and Physics students are always provided with rigorous coursework, but this last year they were put to the ultimate challenge—to build an off-road vehicle that can complete a 300-mile race without a human driver.  The race was sponsored by the Department of Defense where the winning team would win $1 million, which the school would have used to build a technology center on campus.  Robertson spearheaded the Palos Verdes School team, which was the only high school in the nation that accepted the challenge.  The team faced competition from prominent universities and corporations throughout the country.

Robertson galvanized the talents of his students, their parents and teachers to design the school’s first robotic car, equipped with a sophisticated computer system and an intricate network of lasers, sonar and gyroscopes.  Although no team completed the 300-mile race, the scientific research will benefit the students as they look forward to college, their careers, and next year’s off-road challenge where the prize has doubled to $2 million.

The California Lottery’s “Exceptional Educator” Award has been presented on “The Big Spin®” television show since April of 2001.  The Lottery enlists legislators and state officials to present these awards which recognize outstanding teachers whose extraordinary efforts help California students to succeed. 

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