Andrew Opacke Named 2015 Recipient of the SBPLI Fred Breithut Scholarship

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

[Kings Park, NY] — School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI), in conjunction with FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), proudly recognizes former FIRST team 358 member Andrew Opacke as the 2015 winner of SBPLI’s Fred Breithut Scholarship.  Awarded annually to a recent high school graduate and SBPLI FIRST team member entering Farmingdale State College the SBPLI Fred Breithut Scholarship is provided for a maximum of four years, in the amount of $1,000 per semester.

Mr. Opacke joined the FIRST Robotics team during his freshman year of Hauppauge High School. Although he joined the team to have fun, the work he did with the team gave him experience in the engineering field and has influenced his future career aspirations. He recently began studying mechanical engineering at SUNY Farmingdale and hopes to return to his high school as a FIRST robotics team mentor.  

“Being a FIRST team member has taught me the skills to face roadblocks without quitting, to work on a team of conflicting opinions and ideas, the value of hard work and, most importantly, to lead and motivate other students,” says Mr. Opacke. “Thank you to everyone at SBPLI for recognizing my dedication to the field. The Fred Breithut Scholarship will be very helpful in the cost of my education and I look forward to continuing my relationship with SBPLI through the unique opportunity of becoming a FIRST mentor.”

After accepting the award, Mr. Opacke also discovered his family’s personal connection to the scholarship — Mr. Breithut was his grandparents’ social studies teacher in junior high and high school in Franklin Square. Mr. Breithut, who taught history and held administrative posts with numerous high school districts on Long Island, operated SBPLI for 25 years as its President and Founder.

The Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition’s sponsors and volunteers come from some of the most highly regarded organizations and businesses in the area, including FESTO Corporation, BAE Systems, Cablevision, Estée Lauder, Northrop-Grumman, Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System), PSEG Long Island, SCOPE Educational Services, Park Shore Country Day Camp and School, PepsiCo, Schenck Trebel Corporation, Stony Brook University, Hofstra University, Farmingdale State College and School Construction Consultants, among others. Sponsors provide resources including time and talent from professional mentors, services, equipment, financial contributions and volunteers.

If you or your child are interested in participating in any of the FIRST family of programs, please visit for more information.




About School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc.

School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI) was founded in 1984 by Fred Breithut with the goal of developing partnerships between local high schools and businesses that would provide students with practical experience and curriculum development, while helping the business community develop its future workforce. Over 100 partnerships have been formed. In 1999, SBPLI brought the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition to Long Island, in which eight high school teams participated. Since then, the Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition has grown to 50 teams competing each year. SBPLI also hosts Long Island’s annual FIRST LEGO League Qualifying and Championship Tournaments and the Junior FIRST LEGO League Expo, in which almost 2,000 elementary and middle school students from Nassau and Suffolk Counties take part each year. For more information, visit