Special award means Coronado robotics can go to nationals in St. Louis April 27-30

       Going into the Regional FIRST championship in Denver April 7-9, Coronado High School robotics team members hoped their machine would outperform those from the other 44 schools, but they also eyed the event's special Chairman's Award, based on community-related work they'd done in the weeks beforehand.
       They got one out of two. By winning the Chairman's Award, Coronado will be allowed to compete at the national FIRST robotics championship in St. Louis April 27-30.
       “The Chairman's Award is presented to the team judged to have created the best partnership effort among team participants and which best exemplified the true meaning of FIRST through measurable impact on its participants, school and community at large,” reads a description on the FIRST website.
       FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a nonprofit organization founded 19 years ago by inventor Dean Kamen with the goal of encouraging young engineers.
       The 32-member Coronado team, which uses the “Cougars Gone Wired” nickname, “has participated and volunteered in many community service events,” explains a press release from student/team member Leah Jaron. “These events include the Imagination Celebration “What If?” Festival, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, the Cool Science Festival, and the American Heart Association Heart Walk.”
       In addition, according to Jaron, “the team has made presentations to elementary and middle schools, run robotics camps at schools, mentored middle school teams, and shown off their robots in parades around the city. They will also be hosting other teams in the pool with a swimming robot game this May.”
       Each year, FIRST comes up with a new game that requires robots to perform different kinds of stunts and maneuvers. Then student teams from participating schools have to create a robot that can do those things. The competitions determine which school's robots does them best. This year's game is called “Logomotion” and involves placing game pieces (inflatable tubes shaped like a triangle, a circle, and a square to resemble the FIRST logo) on pegs nine feet above the game field. Teams also could score points by making a minibot to race up and down a pole.
       Although the Cougars Gone Wired entry did not win the Logomotion event in Denver - the competition included nine teams from out of state and two from Mexico - Jaron said it was “very successful” and team members “are very excited for their robot's performance at nationals.”
       The group is now fundraising for the $5,000 nationals entry fee as well as for their personal costs to attend the event.

Westside Pioneer/press release