On a quiet Sunday afternoon 11 students from Gaudet Middle School sat in a gymnasium, with hundreds of other students across the state, working feverishly on laptop computers making final adjustments to their robot “Red Spine”. The team arrived before 8am in the hopes that they would be a select few that would qualify for the RI State First Lego League Championships.
These students belong to the Robotics Team at Gaudet Middle School. The “Gaudet Science Laboratories” or "GSL" have been meeting after school and on Saturdays for the last few months in preparation for this event.
The highlight of the day? The culmination of their hard work? Two minutes and thirty seconds of sheer robotics “chaos”.
Students running back and forth putting attachments on to their robots, team members “tagging” in their partners to run a different portion of their program, nervous participants glancing at the scoreboard counting down their time, and a whole bunch of supportive cheering from the crowd. All in an effort to complete tasks that will earn them points which will determine whether they move on to the state championships.
What may seem to be chaos to the untrained eye is actually a well-rehearsed display of teamwork and dedication to a goal.
The First Lego League, and the robotics competitions it runs, seeks to promote students exposure to and involvement in the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. In addition to this, FLL seeks to promote Core Values of teamwork, “Gracious Professionalism”, discovery, problem solving and having fun. At the end of a very long day the faces of these eleven students most assuredly showed the fun portion of the Core Values.
Long before the robotics competitions had begun, the students were involved in three rounds of judging in which they presented information about their project, answered technical questions about their robot and their programming as well as engaging in a team activity to gauge their teamwork abilities. At the end of the day their cumulative score was good enough to qualify them for the State Championship on January 12 at Roger Williams University.
Not only was this a fantastic effort on the students’ part, and truly it was, this was also a reflection of the people and organizations who support such endeavors. A very special thanks to the Middletown Educational Committee (MEC) and the Gaudet Parent Teacher Group (PTG) and the Middletown School Department. Without their funding and support of school programs and outside enrichment activities, this team would not have gotten to where it is today.
Once again, congratulations to the Gaudet Science Laboratories who will be competing at the RI FLL State Championships.
Members of the "Gaudet Science Laboratories"(see team picture)
Front Row (kneeling from L to R) Tristan Pagliaroni and Jacob Smith.
Middle Row (from L to R) Campbell Lacroix, Ben Currey, Liam Quinn, Cody Eddy, Ian Muir, Austin Davis, Ethan Robinson and Ryan Olanynack.
Last Row (from L to R)Glenn Sugawara(Mentor/Assistant Coach), Kevin Quinn(Mentor/Assistant Coach), Duncan Quinn(Mentor/Assistant Coach), Tommy Shugart, and Joshua Beagan (STEM Education teacher - Gaudet Middle School/Head Coach)