FIRST Things First in Chelmsford
CHELMSFORD -- Chelmsford’s two FIRST Lego League robotics teams both scored big STEM successes at the recent Robonautica, Massachusetts State Championship-West event, held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
The veteran girls team, Legolicious, won the Champion’s Award, the most prestigious award any team can win, taking first place overall in a field of 72 teams for its project, robot performance and, most importantly, representing the U.S. FIRST core values of discovery, teamwork and gracious professionalism.
The seven-member team of girls, ranging in age from 11 to 15, advance to the World Final in Detroit in April.
In keeping with the space theme of this year’s international competition, the Legolicious team project was called the Food Capsule. The girls were looking at a new way to feed astronauts on long journeys by encapsulating foods and drinks into edible packaging, eliminating the need for disposable wrappers and eliminating food crumbs (a problem associated with eating in weightlessness). They made consumable prototypes, and fed them to the judges and distributed them at the tournament.
“This is the first time one of my teams has been the Mass. State Champion,” said team coach Leon Reitman, a senior mechanical engineer at Raytheon. “They earned it. Coaching FLL is the most gratifying thing that I have done with my kids.”
Legolicious team members include Chelmsford High School students Emma Reitman, Julianne Clark and Jessica Bejar-Garcia; Lowell High School student Natalia Flores; Innovation Academy Charter School student Emily Garcia; and McCarthy Middle School students Eva Barber and Shyla Patel. Mentors are Leon Reitman and Miriam Bejar-Garcia, and the team is sponsored by Raytheon and OptoGration Inc.
The boys team, Brick Force, competing for its fourth season, took home three awards for its robot’s performance, including second place in the competition portion of the event. The boys then won the “lightning round” elimination challenge as part of a two-team alliance. Brick Force also won the robot reliability award, exactly estimating what their average score would be during the five rounds of robot game competition.
Brick Force team members include McCarthy Middle School students Henry Reitman, Bennett Prees, Will Stafford, David Barber and Tyler Cody, and Parker Middle School student Logan Boucher. Mentors are Leon Reitman and Hugh Stafford. The team is sponsored by is sponsored by Raytheon and OptoGration Inc.