Bloomberg continues our commitment to inspiring the next generation as lead sponsor of the 2015 NYC Regional FIRST® Robotics Competition. The Javits Center roared with 66 international teams and their families including 13 talented Bloomberg-sponsored robotics teams and their mentors. Five Bloomberg teams made it through to the final round with one, the Griffins 1884 from London, coming out on top. The three day competition was made possible by the efforts of over 270 dedicated Best of Bloomberg (BOB) volunteers, mentors and judges who gave over 1,300 service hours throughout the weekend.
The competition marked the culmination of a 6 week robot building journey for the 47 Bloomberg Mentors and their 13 robotics teams. “Recycle Rush” was the theme of the 2015 competition in which the teams’ robots scored points by stacking totes on scoring platforms, capping them with recycling containers and discarding pool noodles, representing litter.
Our FIRST® Mentors helped guide their teams, sharing their skills and experience, delegating and facilitating students work on the robot. Mentors were connected to every aspect of the student’s build process. Nickolai Belakovski, from R&D in NYC, and Harlem Knights Mentor said, “what I enjoyed most was the opportunity to contribute to lots of different parts of the robot. I got to help out with and teach the kids about mechanical design, electrical wiring, programming, and more. It was fun to get to do so many different things, and it also allowed me to interact with a lot of the kids. I know it sounds cliché, but they’re all quite unique, and I enjoyed getting to know them and to help them develop. They were all very willing to learn (if a little overwhelmed at times!), and had a great sense of humor. I’m looking forward to seeing them next year!”
The FIRST® weekend started early Friday morning when 66 competing teams arrived in full force at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, excited and ready to test their “Recycle Rush” robots. Six Bloomberg employees served as competition judges and also joined the crowd at the Javits Center on Friday, including Paul Guttmann, Wendell Johnson, Danielle Lahmani, Panna Pavangadkar, Martin Volerich, and John Waanders. Teams spent the day working together to test and troubleshoot their robots for the two long days of competition ahead. Of the 66 teams, 13 were Bloomberg sponsored robotics teams who arrived with their BOB mentors, including 2 teams who traveled from London. One of those teams, Petchey Academy Robotics Team, was a rookie team who made their first appearance at the competition. Petchey Robotics Mentor, Mark Walker, from R&D in London, commented that “the best thing about being a mentor in the FIRST® robotics programme was seeing how proud the students were of their achievements in creating the robot. As the build and competition went on, the students became more and more passionate about their creation, to the point where they had genuine affection for it! Pretty good for a month’s worth of effort.”
Saturday marked the first day of competition. Teams returned to the Javits Center with their mentors, teachers, families, friends and fans for a full day on the competition field. The contagious excitement and energy of the event continued on Sunday where five Bloomberg sponsored teams made it to the semi-finals, two finishing second including BOB Mentor, Becky Chu’s team, the G-House Pirates. Becky Chu, from UX Design in NYC, felt closely connected to her team “– a team that grows, learns, and experiences together (both for the good and bad). When you put in the time and effort to know the individual members of the team and to work with them throughout the build season, you have a stake in how they perform during competition and it becomes a very personal experience. Exposure to competition, robots, teamwork, the Javits Center — all of it — really does have an impact on young people and shapes what they do in the future. That’s the best part of all.”
At the end of the weekend long competition, Bloomberg-sponsored team, The Griffins 1884 from the American School of London and Quintin Kynaston Academy, took home first place for the second consecutive year at the NYC Regionals. The London-based team will be traveling to the finals in St. Louis, Missouri for the FIRST® 2015 Championship. Muktar Ali, American School in London mentor comments, “This weekend was a special victory for the team. Our success was due to excellent design, engineering, scouting and teamwork but most importantly, strategy. We anticipated the opposition and executed our game plan. We’re just happy to be able to represent Bloomberg at the FIRST Championship.” Four other Bloomberg- sponsored teams from New York City made it to the quarter finals including second place teams the StuyPulse Robots 694 from Stuyvesant High School and the G-House Pirates 354 from George Westinghouse High School as well as the Technobots 743 from the High School of Computers and Technology and the Harlem Knights from Frederick Douglass Academy.
Now on to St. Louis!
To learn more about FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), visit: http://www.usfirst.org/