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PDS robotics team get state judges' attention
Sierra Vista Herald ^ | Adam Curtis

Posted on 12/21/2013 2:52:52 PM PST by SandRat

Gallery Image

Submitted photo — The Neon Ninjas, from Pueblo Del Sol Elementary School, show off their trophy and ribbons at last week's FIRST LEGO League state tournament in Phoenix. The team member are, from left: Corbin Monson, Mason Harris, Pomp Braswell, Katelyn Nuetzel, Alyna Sloan and Jonathan McGuyer. Jennifer Monson, in the back, is their coach.

SIERRA VISTA — Just a week after taking top honors at the regional tournament in Sierra Vista, the Pueblo Del Sol Elementary School Neon Ninjas went to Arizona State University Tempe campus and earned the Judge’s Award at the state FIRST LEGO League robotics competition.

Established to generate enthusiasm for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) LEGO League tasks teams with designing, building and programming a LEGO robot, but that’s not all.

While they fell just shy of earning a trip to the world championship, the Neon Ninjas offered up the most well-rounded showing among the 56 teams competing. Most-known for its LEGO robotics component, the tournament also tested the students’ presentation skills, ability to do research and to problem solve. The Judge’s Award recognizes a team that did consistently well in every category.

The Neon Ninjas were joined by their counterparts from Village Meadows Elementary School, the Rockin’ Robots, at the state tournament and hearing a Sierra Vista school announced was quite a thrill for Yolanda Everett, the Village Meadows team coach.

My team and I were so proud to hear one of our schools called.  We enjoyed chanting, ‘Sierra Vista,’ as other teams looked bewildered,” Everett said, in an email.

This year’s theme, “Nature’s Fury,” tasked students with researching natural disasters, while also designing and programming a LEGO robot to complete emergency response missions.

The Neon Ninjas managed to come in 14th out of the 56 teams in the robot performance category, by completing many of their robot missions, said Jennifer Monson, team coach.

The team also constructed a giant television used to perform a commercial for the judges, describing their research project and a solution they came up with.

Their project identified the need to help pets and animals in the event they are freed and lost during a natural disaster, Monson said.

“They ‘invented’ a microchip with GPS capability to use in the animals so in the event of a natural disaster they would be able to locate, catch and secure them until owners were able to pick them up. “

Monson, a parent who stepped up to coach a team at the school for the first time this year, said no adults were allowed to witness the judging but the kids thought they did very well. She thought they might have a shot in the presentation category but as these were announced the Neon Ninjas were not mentioned.

“I was feeling as though we just didn’t make it this year,” Monson said.

Then the announcer started to describe the judges award, which is reserved for a team that impressed the judges in all aspects of the competition.

“They stated our number followed by our name and our team went Crazy. I cried, they screamed,” Monson said.

The team took off on a winner’s lap, giving the judges and volunteers high fives along the way to picking up the trophy.

“It was a fantastic accomplishment for all of us, kids, coach and parents,” Monson said. 

TOPICS: Education; Local News
KEYWORDS: arizona; children; sierravista

1 posted on 12/21/2013 2:52:52 PM PST by SandRat
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To: SandRat

Conrats! (former FIRSTer)

2 posted on 12/21/2013 3:05:46 PM PST by bigbob (The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Abraham Lincoln)
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To: SandRat

“no adults were allowed to witness the judging”


3 posted on 12/21/2013 3:18:57 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: GeronL

Should have said “No Teams Adults were allowed to witness the judging”

4 posted on 12/21/2013 3:22:04 PM PST by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
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To: SandRat


These kids should never have been separated from their guardians/parents/chaperones

5 posted on 12/21/2013 3:31:23 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: bigbob

Congrats from me too. FIRST FRC mentor. Our season starts two weeks from today.

6 posted on 12/21/2013 6:12:51 PM PST by cyclotic (Hey BSA-I'm gone. Walk
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