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MSHS/CKMS Robotics Teams Advance to State Competition

Robotics teams from Mount Si High School (MSHS) and Chief Kanim Middle School (CKMS) are advancing to FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship on January 30, 2016, at the ShoWare Center in Kent. The CKMS and MSHS teams are two among 32 teams advancing to the state finals, out of 125 teams participating across Washington State. This is the second year that the CKMS team has qualified for state, and the first year of qualification for the MSHS team.

Qualification to state finals is based on multiple factors including robot performance, engineering work, community service, outreach efforts, and students' ability to work as a team and form alliances. To qualify, 31 teams competed on January 17 at the Feynman Inter-league event at Wilson High School in Tacoma. At the event, the teams each played five league matches before qualifying to play in the semi-final and championship matches.  Both teams were also part of alliances in the final competitions.

As a result, the MSHS team and their alliance partners earned the Top Performing Alliance award. And, the CKMS team won the Connect Award for their outreach and community service work.

MSHS Robotic Team
The MSHS Robotics team, pictured left to right, first row, includes: Spencer Dolecki,
Noah Vaughn, Coach Kyle Warren, Preston Henning, Rahul Rajkumar and Donovan See.
Second row: Tyler Grimm, Hans Johnson, Morgan Ross, Shaym Gandhi, Jessi Lelas and
Vishnu Rathnam. Third Row: Quinn Gieseke and Thomas Hendrick. Not pictured: Beau
Johnson and Max Cannella.

CKMS Robotics Team
The CKMS Robotics team includes (in the first row): Sully McLaughlin, Manjesh Puram,
Hari Rathnam, Vennela Kadavakollu, Michael Albert. Second Row: Aayush Singh,
Mathew Chow, and Devin Dolecki. Not pictured: Nathaniel Bhend and Coach Anna Kerlee.

In addition, Snoqualmie Elementary School has a Robotics team competing in the FIRST Lego League (FLL), a similar competition designed to introduce younger students to science and technology in a sporty atmosphere. The SES team, which is being mentored by students from MSHS/CKMS, is advancing to semi-final robotics competition this coming Sunday, January 24. Good luck!

SES Robotic team with mentors
The SES Robotics team, pictured with MSHS/CKMS mentors in the back row.

Several community partnerships are helping support these student efforts this year. To help fund the teams’ equipment and registration costs, support has come from employee matching contributions from Microsoft, as well as community sponsors such as: IGA, Ana’s Mexican Family Kitchen and Snoqualmie Dental. Also, the training rooms at the City of Snoqualmie Fire Station and Police Station have been regular meeting places for the teams especially on the evenings and weekends.

Background on FIRST® Tech Challenge

FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is a robotics competition for students in grades 7 through 12 that promotes project-based learning. There are over 125 teams in Washington State participating and over 5,000 teams worldwide. Using a proven formula to engage student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), FTC is one of the fastest-growing programs of its kind. FIRST teams collaborate with business, engineering, and science professionals in their communities to solve real-world problems using robotics.

To participate, students build robots that “play a game” on a 12’x12’ field. The 2015/16 game, FIRST RES-Q, is modeled after actual rescue situations faced by mountain explorers all over the globe. Played by two alliances of two robots each, robots will score points by: “resetting” rescue beacons; delivering rescue climbers to a shelter; parking on the mountain; and parking in the rescue beacon repair zone or floor goal. Robots may also score points by retrieving debris from the playing field and placing them in mountain or floor goals, and also by hanging from a pull-up bar during the last 30-seconds of a match. 

The FIRST Program (named For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kaman, to foster interest in math, science, and engineering through hands-on applications. This international program is sponsored by the engineering community to promote technological literacy and engineering to middle school and high school students. Here is a video that introduces FIRST Tech Challenge.