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District robotics team earns First Place Champions Award to finish impressive season

Templeton Middle School and Silver Spring Intermediate School robotics team, Cyber Turtles, earned the tournament champion title at the American Open Robotics Championship – Liberty Science Center FLL Invitational. The event was held May 13 and 14 in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Cyber Turtles, a group of eight 5th-8th grade students, wowed the judges with their project and robot presentations earning the Second Place Robot Performance Award and First Place Champions Award. The prestigious Champions Award is given to the team that embodies the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) experience by fully embracing the core values while achieving excellence and innovation in robot performance, robot design and the innovation project.

Pictured left to right: Wade Gonzalez, Bennett Glapa, Shaanvi Konda Gopinath, Elise Fuhr, Akshara Appadwedula, Hamsini Duvuri, Ananya Appadwedula, Zoha Sharief

“There are over 12,500 FLL Challenge teams in the US and only about 1.5% of those teams have the opportunity to compete in post season tournaments, so this is quite an achievement for the Cyber Turtles,” said Charger Robotics FLL Advisor Kathy Betters. “The Cyber Turtles had a fabulous year and accomplished a lot! They are very proud of all that they have done this season.”

Cyber Turtles advanced to the Invitational after finishing in the top 5 of 240 FLL Wisconsin teams this season. Cyber Turtles’ season accomplishments include:

  • Regionals – Second Place Robot Performance Award, Second Place Champions Award;
  • Sectionals – Second Place Robot Performance Award, First Place Champions Award; and
  • State Championship – Second Place Robot Performance Award, First Place Robot Design Award.

An important part of FIRST® LEGO® League is the core value of impact. Cyber Turtles had a positive impact on their community in several ways this season. The team held a successful LED light bulb drive, collecting 1,000 LED bulbs for Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity. They collected STEM toys to benefit Rogers Behavioral Health and hosted an event at the Pauline Haass Public Library where they taught younger children about STEM and distributed free STEM kits to the community. Cyber Turtles also created an FLL Help website with short instructional tutorials to help teams around the world improve overall competition.