This story was originally posted online in early 2009.
Students from fifth through eighth grades have qualified for world and national championships in two robotics contests. Congratulations to grade 8 students Sierra Lincoln, Pooja Shah and Sonia Gupta, who took the First Place Championship Award and the Judges Award at a regional VEX Robotics competition at Bellarmine College Preparatory in mid-January. The team will head to Dallas in May for the world championship competition. VEX robotics matches are played with robots made from VEX Robotics kits, designed for use in competitions by schools. Four robots work in two teams on a 12-foot square field to manage tasks, thwart opponents and hold dominant points on the field.
December was a great month for students participating in the First Lego League (FLL) robotics tournaments. In early December, a trio of Harker grade 8 boys won the special Community Award at the QuixSilver FIRST Lego League competition in early December as well as finishing second overall in the Robot Performance segment of the event. The team, Batteries Not Included, is Michael Cheng, Ravi Tadinada and Tyler Yeats. Their success allowed them to advance to the Northern California FLL Championship competition in late January.
In mid-December, Harker’s all-girl GEARs team – Eva Bruketa, Cristina Jerney, Cecilia Lang-Ree and Payal Modi, all grade 8 – participated in their final tournament at Valley Christian School, receiving the Judge’s Award for their efforts and successes in the years they competed. The GEARs were the only all-girl team to compete for all five years in the league, which is open to competitors from ages 9 to 14. And in the true spirit of Harker’s technologicial prowess, Bruketa, who left Harker last year for a new home in Ottawa, Canada, communicated with the rest of her team using Skype, the Webcam service that allows real-time conversations via computer. She had a mock Lego model set up in her home, and she and her teammates designed their project long-distance. Bruketa did come down for the final tournament to join in the fun with her friends.
The SAP elementals – Jeremy Binkley, Jeton Gutierrez-Bujari, Alexander Thomas and Harry Xu, all grade 6 – advanced to the Northern California State Championship after competing at a regional tournament at Hopkins Junior High School in Fremont in mid-December.
LS students also performed well at regional FLL tournaments in December. The RoboFerrets, grade 5 students John Nicolas Jerney, Alec Kiang, Ryan Lee and Robbie Underwood, received the Research Award at a regional tournament at California High School in San Ramon on Dec. 14, and advanced to the Northern California State Championship.
Elizabeth Siegel, grade 5, and her team, Claws2008 Robotics, were the winners of the Robot Design award and placed second overall at a regional tournament at Valley Christian High School on Dec. 13.