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Local FIRST® Youth Robotics Teams Advance to World Championship

Three local FIRST® youth robotics teams have advanced to the FIRST Robotics WORLD Championship in St. Louis, MO in April where they will be in the company of 20,000+ students competing on teams from the US and many other countries. These local teams will represent the large region within NY State that SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica represents as FIRST Robotics Partner for the global FIRST [For Inspiration of Science and Technology] organization.

Java Scouts and Geared UpThe local FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams, Geared Up from Rome, NY, and the JavaScouts from New Hartford, NY competed in Scranton, PA at the East Super-Regional from March 17-19 against 72 teams from all across the eastern United States. Additionally, a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team from Clinton, NY is also advancing to the WORLD Championship thanks to their win at the SUNY Poly FLL Championship in February.

Piece by PieceAt the East Super-Regional Competition, Geared Up won the highest honor given, the INSPIRE Award. This award recognizes the ultimate role model team by taking into consideration robot performance, design and programming; community outreach; volunteerism; Gracious Professionalism® ; and the engagement of professional mentors. Geared Up is a non-profit, 4H team, of dedicated, hard working 9th - 11th graders from the Oriskany, Sauquoit, V V S, and Whitesboro school districts. Geared Up was also honored as a finalist for the Control Award which recognizes high level programming and use of sensors on the robot. FIRST Tech Challenge teams compete with their custom designed, built and programmed remote controlled & autonomous metal robots, accomplishing many specific tasks to score maximum points.

TournamentThrough the same highly competitive East Super-Regional, the FIRST Tech Challenge team, the JavaScouts from New Hartford, NY earned advancement to the FIRST World Championship through their impressive robot ranking after the qualifier matches among the 72 teams competing. This second year team is made up of highly motivated Boy Scouts from Troop 4 in New Hartford. With four eighth graders and one tenth grader, the JavaScouts are a young team and are very enthusiastic about STEM and robotics. One of their Mentors, FJ Wadnola, was honored with the Compass Award, which is awarded to an exemplary Mentor for a team, created and presented in video format.

Geared Up and The JavaScouts will be holding a Pasta Dinner as a fundraiser on Wednesday, April 5th from 5-8pm at the Shriner's Park on Halsey Road in Whitestown to help with the tournament fees and travel costs. Tax deductible donations can also be made through gearedup6347.com on the sponsorships/donations page. Specify which team you are donating for.

At the SUNY Poly Robotics Weekend in February, the winners of the FIRST LEGO League (​FLL​)​ Championship were a Clinton, NY team, Peace by Piece. This all girl team also advanced to the FIRST Championship in St. Louis. The impressive competition at the SUNY Poly FIRST Lego League Championship was made up of children from 13 counties within NY State ​in grades 4-8 where they competed with LEGO Mindstorm​s robots they specifically designed and programmed to perform various challenging tasks, as well as presenting original research and solutions to problems when animals interact with people for this year’s competition theme, “Animal Allies”. The team is doing a fund drive through generosity.com (search for “Peace by Piece”), also they are holding a can drive and a garage sale.

FIRST robotics programs are highly educational, beneficial, and usually life changing. Everyone involved is evidence of the very important brain trust pipeline that FIRST programs attract and nurture for local regions and their futures exemplified in the Partnership of FIRST and SUNY Polytechnic Institute. FIRST studies have found that 90% of FIRST robotics participants plan to attend college and over 75% are involved in a STEM field as a student or professional. 

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