After an impressive showing at the WORLD Championship in St. Louis last year, Living Classrooms' student robotics team, Fresh T.E.C.H. (Team 4242), returned with a brand new group of students who honored the strong legacy by beating out forty high school teams to win first place in the FIRST Chesapeake Greater DC District Competition on Sunday, March 12th. As the youngest team in the competition, these underdogs impressed their competitors and judges alike, securing the coveted Judges' Award and attracting several requests for alliances throughout the two-day competition held at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, MD.
"We are so proud that all of the students' hard work has paid off like this," said Dominique Skinner, Director of the Robotics Program. "This is the first experience these students have had with robotics and their commitment and hard work is eclipsed only by their enthusiasm, which showed at the competition. They were getting the crowd hyped up all day," she said.
Prior to this weekend's competition, team Fresh T.E.C.H. (Technology, Engineering, Carpentry, and Higher Learning) had little to no engineering or robotics experience. They spent three days per week, for six weeks, learning basic robot design, theories of function and other related STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) concepts in order to prepare for the competition. Local mentors and professional engineers from the U.S. Department of Transportation and DAGER Technology worked with the students to design, build, and test their robot in Living Classrooms' DC workshop. The team's students range from 7th to 11th grade and consist of two boys and two girls from Friendship Academy and Washington Global Public Charter School.
"I like the experience of being in competitions and especially winning the second competition," said team member and 11th grade student, Nyjai. "Building the robot was a long and hard process but it was worth it because we wouldn't be in this position without it."
Dubbed a varsity Sport for the Mind, FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. It is the only school sport that trains members for a professional career, should they choose to do so.
The next stop on the road towards the World Championship in St. Louis on April 25th, is the FIRST Chesapeake Regional Competition at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA on April 5th-8th.
If you would like to support the team's journey to the World Championship, please consider contributing to their travel expenses for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Enter "Robotics" in the Program Designation field.