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Novice team performs well at Lego League competition

Pictured above (from left to right, bottom to top):  Rohan Adepu, Addie Sires, Neeraj Dodda, Rahul Sampangiramahaih, Kaushik Kaja, Tanya Chourasia, Phalgun Taman, Vaibhav Chourasia, and Aditya Vepa took the third place prize in the FLL Robotic Qualifier Tournament.

By RHMS eighth grade student Lia Halvas;  photo courtesy of Shalini Bose

Nine students from Rock Canyon feeder schools, including two from Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS), walked into the Colorado First Lego League (FLL) National Qualifier Tournament, tense, taking on the challenge of competing with 80 countries and 250,000 other kids.  Their team, Nex Gen Science Guild was there to compete, but there were only a few prizes to be handed out to the winners.  Did their hard work pay off?

FLL fosters science and technology learning and focuses not just on the building of something, but also on six core values that stress teamwork, friendly competition, and the joy of discovery.  Participants in this FLL event used their skills to build, test, and program an autonomous robot.  Each year, there is a different theme to set the creative guidelines for this project, making each year unique.  While most of the other teams had six years of experience in competing, team Nex Gen Science Guild was made up of first-timers in the FLL world.
The team was coached by Shalini Bose, a parent of one of the participants.  Tanya Courasia and Kaushik Kaja, sixth grade members from RHMS, met with their team and worked together for more than 100 hours to prepare for the tournament.  Bose said, “Some days, the kids would start at 9 a.m. and work until 10 p.m. They worked very hard.”

At first, the team wasn’t sure they’d even make it past the first round, but they came out strong and made it to regionals.  They proved that they had skill as soon as they set foot into the tournament.  

Every time the robot built by Bose’s team accomplished something, they became more determined to win.  And when the time came for them to announce the winners, the team was both excited and nervous to hear the results.  They had worked so hard for that moment and were confident they had done well, considering they had made it that far.

Through their perseverance, commitment, critical thinking, and knowledge of technology, team Nex Gen Science Guild pushed through and earned third place out of 71 teams.  Rookies?  I think not.



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