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Robots Spark Dreams and Future Careers, Part II

Congratulations to Team Sparky 384 from Henrico County, who joined teams from Martinsville, Va. and Raleigh, N.C. to become top winners in the 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Virginia Regional, a “varsity sport for the mind.”

With the purpose of inspiring future engineers and scientists, this year’s contest brought together 59 teams from Virginia, The Carolinas, Connecticut and Washington, DC to face off at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Stuart C. Siegel Center to compete in a two-day robotic basketball tournament. The top performers qualified to compete at the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis on April 25-28.

Watch the video to see how Team Sparky 384 attacked this year’s challenge and developed new strategies in the midst of the competition.

Team Sparky 384, from J.R. Tucker High School in Henrico County, led the winning alliance with Team 1262, The STAGS, from Piedmont Governor’s School for Mathematics, Science and Technology in Martinsville, VA and Team Robodogs 435, from STEM Early College High School & Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School in Raleigh, N.C. Their alliance earned top honors after 99 qualifying matches and a series of playoff rounds. Team Sparky was named winner of the Engineering Inspiration Award, celebrating outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school as well as their community.

Mounika Bodapati of Team Sparky 384 tells us about her experience in St. Louis at the World Championship:

It was great seeing SO many different teams come together to compete. I got to meet tons of new people from all over the world, and these teams and robots were the best in the world! The Einstein matches really blew my mind, with the enthusiam throughout the stadium, and how amazing these final 4 robots performed. The week long experience with my team, at the World Championships was unforgettable, and I'd give anything for a repeat again next year.”

All of the students who participate in robotics programs gain important 21st century workplace experience whether they compete in  the VirginiaFIRST regional competition or advance to the FIRST World Competition. They have been challenged, engaged and given a chance to shine in a field that can lead to future careers. Congratulations to all of our fantastic robotics students, coaches, mentors and business sponsors. Stay tuned folks - you will be hearing a lot more about these kids!

Additional teams who went to the FIRST World Championships in St. Louis, based on their performance in Richmond were:

Team 1885 – ILITE Robotics, from Battlefield H.S. in Haymarket, Va. Team 1885 was named winner of the Virginia Regional Chairman's Award, FIRST’s most prestigious award, honoring the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate, embodying the goals and mission of FIRST.

• Judges also singled out students taking part in the FIRST Robotics program for the first time this year, bestowing the Rookie All-Star Award to Team Opportunity 4394 from Williamsburg-James City County public schools.

Three Richmond area teams earned bragging rights at the Virginia Regional as members of the runner-up alliance:
Team Mech Tech Dragons 422, from Maggie Walker Governor’s School, Richmond
Team RoboHawks 346, from L.C. Bird H.S. and Governor’s Academy for Engineering Studies at Bird H.S.
Team MidloCanics 1541, from Midlothian High School.

Want to know more about FIRST?
Accomplished 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 Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. Gracious Professionalism™ is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.

Want to know more about VirginiaFIRST?
VirginiaFIRST is a regional non-profit affiliate of FIRST. Its mission is to make the FIRST Vision and Mission a reality for every young person in Virginia.