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Heritage nabs four trophies at state robotics meet

Heritage Golden Bot Squad members are, bottom from left, Laith Qushair, Vishay Ram, Colin Beyersdorf and Kyshin Kise, top from left, Coach Dan Strickland, Jake Strickland, Lane Chatterton, Neil Chaudhary and Coach Subha Ram. (Contributed)

Teams from Heritage Elementary School earned four trophies in three categories at the Alabama FIRST LEGO League State Championship.

Heritage was the only school that had three teams advance from the Madison qualifier tournament last November to the state tournament held at Grissom High School on Jan. 12, faculty sponsor and enrichment specialist Laura Minor said.

The Senior Commandos team won first place for “Best Robot Performance” and second place as overall champion. Members are Daniel Moore, Daegan Appel, Cody Garrett, Matthew Schikner, Anna Townsend, Neha Mokashi, Caroline Thomas, Garrett Nix and parent coaches Megan Moore and Chris Thomas.

Heritage’s Candy Stripers won second place for their project. The team includes Alex Shah, Jillian Minor, Lily Wright, Nathan Assaf, Drew Consylman, Chase Consylman, Emma Houssain, Calvin Engstrom and parent coaches Jennifer Shah, Sydney Assaf and Jessica Consylman.

The Golden Bot Squad won first place trophy for “Most Innovative Solution.” The team has Kyshin Kise, Laith Qushair’ Vishay Ram, Neil Chadhary, Colin Beyersdorf, Jake Strickland and parent coaches Subha Ram and Dan Strickland.

“Amazing parent volunteers allow us to have three teams,” Minor said.

Organized in spring 2012, Heritage teams began working last August on their challenge, “Senior Solutions,” released to all LEGO Robotics registered teams. They proposed improvements for “quality of life for senior citizens by helping them continue to be independent, engaged and connected to their communities,” Minor said. “Teams researched obstacles seniors face every day.”

In community outreach, Heritage teams partnered with senior citizens to gain insight on aging.

The Heritage teams applied problem solving, math, science, oratory and patience to program a robot to perform various tasks. “They learned the fundamentals of how a computer language (code) is used to make the robot move,” Minor said. Strategy was key for the robot’s movement in the playing field to score the most points in 2.5 minutes.

The competition was the most difficult and comprehensive most studentshad experienced. “Students discovered this very challenging project far outweighs any award,” Minor said.

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