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FIRST Tech Challenge Recap

Emanne Khan '19
Under the guidance of coaches Mr. Young and Dr. Masoni, the Derryfield Upper and Middle School robotics teams tested their mettle at the FIRST Tech Challenge state championship on Saturday, February 2nd at SNHU. NH resident and Segway inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to encourage the spirit of innovation and interest in STEM fields among students across the nation.

Dr. Masoni shared a detailed recap of the day’s events with the School, describing how the Derryfield teams stacked up against the competition of 35 other state teams: “The Binary Bots, as the middle team is called (Team motto: "All or Nothing!"), was on average the youngest team of the tournament, consisting of 6th, 7th and 8th graders competing alongside mostly high school teams, including the award-winning "Fighting Cougars" from Derryfield. But what they may have lacked in experience they made up for with grit.”

After taking fourth place at a practice scrimmage before the finals, the Binary Bots enjoyed similar success in the first round of matches, claiming the second spot with their robot Penny until interference from an unchecked hotspot and several technological hiccups complicated their quest for the top stop. However, Dr. Masoni pointed out that “we took solace in the fact that our last match, free of interference and free of error as it was, showed us at our best. We scored points quite effectively, Penny responded to her commands, and we delivered a very strong performance.” Confident in their abilities to go up against other highly competitive teams, the Binary Bots look forward to utilizing the robotics and engineering space in the future Science and Innovation Center that will soon replace the current DS gym.

The Upper School team, the Fighting Cougars, emerged from the challenge victorious, earning third place for the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award, as well as first place for the Design Award, and co-captain Zack Horton ‘20 was one of only two students in NH to be named a Dean’s List Finalist. Coach Young provided descriptions for the awards: “The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award celebrates a Team that thinks outside the box, and has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life,” while the Design Award “recognizes design elements of the Robot that are both functional and aesthetic.”

To see WMUR coverage from the day, including some shots of the DS teams, follow the link below, and don’t forget to congratulate the student innovators on their successes.

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