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LEXUS LC500LEXUS LC500Nearly 300 people attended a special event on March 12 to recognize and appreciate Ram Jakhotia, his wife Rashmi, and a dedicated team of kitchen volunteers (Nita Shah, Rekha Chandra, Ramila Patel and Trushnabein) for selfless service to Tampa Bay seniors for 18 years.

“As soon as India Cultural Center was built, Ram came to ask about starting a senior group,” remembers Dr. Dipak Shah on behalf of ICC management. “He has been persistent and now we are enjoying the fruits. We thank Ram and Rashmi for their dedication, hard work.” The free ICC Seniors get-to-gather, held every third Wednesday of each month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., has been the place where seniors meet not only to socialize and network but also listen to world-class musicians and speakers specializing in elderly needs such as finance, health care, Medicare, spirituality, diet, stress management, etc. The ICC management team has been providing free use of the Lotus Hall, kitchen facility to cook food on site, as well as offering audio/video system, tables and chairs to seniors who come from such faraway places as Sarasota, Spring Hill, Lakeland, Plant City, etc. Also, rides are arranged for seniors who do not have transportation. For more information, call Mahesh Modha at (813) 476-1540.

Dr. Jayendra Chokshi recalled the tremendous hardship Ram Jakhotia endured in India before moving to the United States. “He was born in Jayal, a small town in Rajasthan. He studied under a tree and that’s how his education started. At 10, he moved to Bombay, graduated from high school, then college, with his brother’s support. When they married, Ram was 17 and Rashmi was only 14 years of age.”

Jakhotia wanted to be an engineer and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in Sangli, Maharashtra. “He came back to Bombay but couldn’t find a job. Ultimately, he decided to move to the U.S. and came here via boat in 1962 with few dollars in hand. After finishing post-graduation, he got a job in New Jersey in 1965. ICC Seniors get-to-gather has grown from a handful to 250-300 people,” He worked for IBM before retiring in 1997.

“A dream without a goal remains a dream only,” noted philanthropist Dr. Kiran C. Patel. “It was a dream of Ram and a few friends, he persevered, persisted and now you see the outcome. Ram and Rashmi has been committed and dedicated monthly for the seniors group. They are involved in any community activity to volunteer, work without any expectations, and that’s what we have to learn from them.”

Jakhotia thanked ICC for offering the Lotus Hall and all its conveniences. “Seniors can make friends with other seniors when they come to Tampa to settle down in our city,” he noted. “They get good food, entertainment.” The Jakhotias’ sons Deepak and DJ Ravidrums along with family were also present. In recognizing his parents, Ravi aptly put it, “You both are the Tom Brady and Gronk of the Indian American community!”


LEXUS LC500Presented by the India Cultural & Education Center, the India Fest will be held on Saturday, April 2. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bo Diddley Plaza, 111 E. University Ave., Gainesville. There will be Indian food, music/dance, fashion, jewelry, etc.
For information, email indiafest@icec-florida.org or visit www.icec-florida.org




LEXUS LC500FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) a program within FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), helps students (ages 12-18) learn to think like engineers. Teams design, build, and code robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. They work on developing autonomous and driver-controllable robot to complete missions on a thematic playing field. Robots are built from a reusable platform, powered by Android technology, and can be coded using a variety of levels of Java based programming. Teams also work on other areas, including creating an engineering notebook, business and sustainable plan, team goals for the season, fundraising, and outreach and engagement with engineering community, mentors, and also with non-technical community.

With all the uncertainty, the new FTC 2021-2022 season began last year in September. Even through the pandemic, FTC Team #16716 IvyWarriors, a student community robotics team from Odessa, continued to follow and develop their passion for engineering and robotics. After almost six months of hard work and perseverance, the team has advanced to the Florida State Championship by winning first place in the Tampa Bay Regional League Championship in Lakeland, attended by 16 teams on Feb 2. At the Florida State Championship, which will held at the Advent Fieldhouse in Winter Haven on March 4-5, they will compete against 48 other teams from Florida to win a spot for entering the FIRST World Festival in Houston in April.

LEXUS LC500IvyWarriors consists of eight high school students (Sahil Vaswani, Joshua Selvan, Rohil Agarwal, Vineet Sharma, Ananth Kutuva, Nikhil Padi, Neil Babu, and Avaneesh Venkatesh). These youths come from different schools in the Tampa Bay area, including Land O’ Lakes IB High, Berkley Prep, Hillsborough High, Strawberry Crest High, and Robinson IB High School. The team is supported by two coaches (Abhay Vaswani and Tamil Gurusamy) along with other mentors. To qualify for the prestigious State Championship, the team has worked tirelessly over the past six months to build a robot that completes all tasks relatively efficiently with consistency. This year specifically, the team learned how to implement artificial intelligence (AI) to maximize their score, a feat that only few teams have accomplished.

For more information, visit https://ftc16716.wordpress.com/ and FIRST website at https://www.firstinspires.org/


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