by Carrie Griffiths
On Saturday, November 17th, after two months of intense preparation, the Avon’s St. Agnes FIRST LEGO League: Prime Legacy competed in the regional qualifiers at Churchville-Chili Middle School. The team, comprised of Aiden Aguirre (grade 5), Gabriel Cote (grade 4), and Lillian Steele (grade 5), were one of the first to successfully complete the morning’s competition demonstrating knowledge of the NXT robotics programming system, teamwork skills (by building a tower using only mini-marshmallows and toothpicks!), and scientific research/development skills through their invention and presentation of a solar-powered oxygen therapy vest.
After a short break during which the team got to meet and offer encouragement to some of the other competing LEGO teams, it was time for an afternoon of robotics competition. St. Agnes’ first run on the game field proved to be disastrous as their robot tore the field apart due to the official playing field differing just enough from the team’s practice board to alter their robot’s course.
Undaunted, the team raced back to the practice pits and altered its programming strategy to accommodate for the competition board parameters. On the team’s second run they more than doubled their original robotics score, and on the third and final run, the team’s robot scored one of the highest runs of the competition day! The awards ceremony revealed that St. Agnes Prime Legacy had won a “Judges Award” given to a team to “look for in the future” and, perhaps most importantly, was presented with a Finger Lakes Regional Hero Award which is a pin given to a team that is observed by a judge at some point during the day doing something extraordinary to demonstrate the strong core values which define the FIRST LEGO philosophy of “gracious professionalism” (= it’s great to be competitive but we also need to help other competing members so we can all grow).
It was an extremely exciting and gratifying day for the kids after all their months of incredibly hard work. I would like to offer the St. Agnes FIRST LEGO League a hearty “well done!” and say “thank you” to all of the community members that made the day a reality including: the parents of each team member, the Avon United Methodist Church for allowing the team to house its robotics board in the religious ed room, the St. Agnes School community who supported the team’s fund-raising efforts, the University of Rochester, and Dr. Gerald Benjamin, Principal of St. Agnes School. Congratulations!