City Teens Build To A Big Finish
Team Takes Second In Regional Lego Championship
Posted: December 10, 2012
Yogesh Aradhey and William Shaver, both 13, of the Harrisonburg Nanobots (left), and James Gutschow and Tracy Richmond, both 13, of the Montevideo Middle School Maroon Mustangs Robotics (right), compete in the First Lego League robotics regional championship at Harrisonburg High School on Sunday. (Photos by Stephen Mitchell)
Yogesh Aradhey (left) and William Shaver, members of the Harrisonburg Nanobots team, compete in the First Lego League competition on Sunday at Harrisonburg High School. The team won the second place champions trophy for their division.
Montevideo Middle School students Sykes Richardson, 11, and Stacy Richmond, 13, make an adjustment to their robot while competing in the robot performance portion of the First Lego League Robotics annual regional competition on Sunday at Harrisonburg High School.
But fiddling with the construction toys hasn’t been an idle activity for Evan Jost, Enzo Nieto, Yogesh Aradhey and William Shaver.
Rather, it’s been time well spent, socially and educationally, for the 13-year-olds who make up the Nanobots First Lego League team.
Since September, the group has been getting together three to five times a week to work on its Lego robot, which the boys programmed to perform various tasks on a tabletop obstacle course.
“We’re all friends,” said Yogesh, adding, “It helps you work on a team.”
Their hard work paid off Sunday, when they took the second place champions trophy for their division at the Virginia-DC First Lego League championship.
“When you get to the tournament, it’s really fun to see it work,” William said.
The Nanobots were one of three Harrisonburg-area teams to participate in the tournament, which started Saturday at James Madison University and ended Sunday at Harrisonburg High School.
Groups from Skyline Middle School and Montevideo Middle School also took part in the event, which is the largest First Lego League tournament in the world, according to Nick Swayne, who coordinates the Virginia-DC division.
Swayne, director of external relations and outreach for JMU’s College of Education, said 98 teams from throughout Virginia and Washington, D.C., qualified for the weekend tournament out of more than 600 that competed in regional events last month.
The overall winner of the Virginia-DC First Lego League championship, Chantilly-based R2D2, will go on to the world championships in St. Louis in April.
Locally, the First Lego League is integrated with the STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — academies at Skyline and Thomas Harrison middle schools, said Swayne, a member of the Harrisonburg City School Board.
In addition to STEM, said Sonya Shaver, one of the Nanobots’ coaches and William’s mother, participants also learn writing and presentation skills along with many other lessons — all with real-world applications.
“I think FLL is a whole curriculum in one,” she said. “It’s problem-solving, it’s brainstorming, it’s working together.”
Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or email@example.com