Tri-C Team Wins International Robotics Championship
May 04, 2016
John Horton, 216-987-4281 firstname.lastname@example.org
Students from the Youth Technology Academy top field of 20,000
Students from the Youth Technology Academy at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) won the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship, an engineering skills showcase in St. Louis that brought 20,000 participants from around the world.
The Tri-C team — comprised of more than two dozen Cleveland Metropolitan School District students — joined with three other schools to form the winning alliance. They are the first Ohio team to place first in the competition.
More than 40,000 roaring spectators watched the championship match Saturday night at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, which hosted the four-day event.
“This was a phenomenal ending to a fantastic robotics season,” said George Bilokonsky, executive director of Tri-C’s Youth Technology Academy (YTA). “We are extraordinarily proud and truly inspired by these bright and talented students who worked so hard to triumph.”
The winning alliance featured students from the YTA as well as schools from California, lllinois and Virginia. The group competed in 18 matches while advancing through the championship tournament.
The Tri-C team competed in regional robotics competitions in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Palmetto, South Carolina, before advancing to the championship.
The competition – now in its 25th year — is designed to introduce high school students to potential careers in engineering, science and technology. This year’s event kicked off in January with an unveiling of the game’s medieval castle theme, FIRST STRONGHOLD.
Teams of students worked with professional mentors over six weeks to design and build a robot to compete. Robots scored points by breaching opponents’ defenses and tossing boulders through goals in their tower.
Students built the remote-controlled robots — which could weigh up to 120 pounds and stand 4 feet 6 inches tall — using kits with more than 300 parts.
NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland sponsored Tri-C’s team, providing funding and a lead mentor on the project. NASA engineer Larry Oberle worked with students as they developed their robot. He has been involved with the program for 14 years.
Students on the team represented seven Cleveland high schools: MC2 STEM, East Tech, John Adams, John Marshall, Design Lab Early College, New Tech West and John Hay.
Team members included Mason Ali; Yantze Arocho; Aliyah Badgette; Renee Boyd; Richelle Boyd; Domonique Dumas; Mark Goeser; Henry Griffin; Deven Gyure; Mark Hairston; Delorian Harris; Iris Harris; Maurissa Harrison; Joshua Lacy; Johnathan Lin; Tramell Orr; Jonathon Ortiz; Jak’I Respress; Katiushea Rivera; Rico Thompson; Avionne Weaver; Ryan Werner; Arianna West; James Wright; and Peng Zhou.
Inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people.
Based in New Hampshire, FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating students to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering.
Studies have shown that 88 percent of FIRST Robotics Competition alumni have gone on to college. This year’s participants have access to more than $25 million in scholarship funds available to FIRST students.
More than 75,000 high school students from 24 countries competed in the event in the four months leading to the championship.
Bilokonsky said YTA sponsors and partners made it possible for the Cleveland students to participate in the FIRST program and explore technical career pathways now in demand by area employers.
The team received support from Alcoa Foundation, The Abington Foundation, Bank of America, The Eva L. and Joseph M. Bruening Foundation, FIRST, GPD Group, Krish Services Group Inc., The Elizabeth Ring Mather and William Gwinn Mather Fund, National Science Foundation, Nordson Corporation, OhioMeansJobs|Cleveland-Cuyahoga County, The Pentair Foundation, Rockwell Automation, Swagelok, The Denise G. and Norman E. Wells, Jr. Family Foundation, and other sponsors.