S.P.A.M. ROBOTICS WINS SOUTH FLORIDA FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION REGIONAL TOURNAMENT FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR
Stuart, Fla. (April 8, 2014)… S.P.A.M. Robotics, the Martin County School District’s high school robotics team, entered this year’s South Florida FIRST (“For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”) Robotics Competition (FRC) Regional tournament held on April 4-5 with high expectations and pressure. Not only were they coming off a victory at the FRC Orlando Regional tournament last month, but they also had won the South Florida tournament the last two years. They went in as one of the teams to watch and to see if they could pull off three years in a row. And they did not disappoint.
After two days of intense competition, S.P.A.M. dominated the tournament. Along with their alliance partners, “Children of the Swamp” from Riviera Beach and “Dirty Mechanics” from Boca Raton, the team won the tournament that was held at the Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center over the weekend.
But S.P.A.M. didn’t settle for simply winning the tournament. At closing ceremonies they were awarded the “Gracious Professionalism Award” sponsored by Johnson and Johnson. This award celebrates outstanding sportsmanship and continuous gracious professionalism in the heat of competition, both on and off the playing field. S.P.A.M. students and mentors helped teams in all facets of the game by programming and assembling robots, sharing scouting data, and connecting rookie teams to potential sponsors.
“I think I am proudest of the team when I walk around the pit and observe the S.P.A.M. students helping other teams, said Rich Brooks, S.P.A.M. board president and team leader. “Every team has a lot of hard work invested in their robot and they all deserve a chance to see their robot compete. Our students are a part of making that a reality for them.
“The Gracious Professionalism Award is, in part, based on feedback provided by the teams at the event. To receive this ‘peer’ award is a great honor and a reflection that the S.P.A.M. students ‘get it,’ that the journey is just as important as the destination,” he said
Jade Zsiros, a junior at Clark Advanced Learning Center and a member of S.P.A.M.’s drive team, was named a FIRST Dean’s List Finalist. This award celebrates outstanding student leaders whose passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary. Jade will compete with other regional winners at FIRST Championships in St. Louis on April 23-26.
Emma Harland and Greg King, both seniors at Jensen Beach High School, were selected to work as Student Ambassadors at the tournament. As Ambassadors, they met with corporate sponsors, escorted visitors around the convention center, and served as an information source during the tournament. Emma and Greg were interviewed by several news organizations that covered the event including CNN and the Miami Herald.
Forty-six teams from throughout Florida as well as Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina, Massachusetts and three teams from Mexico met to play this “varsity sport for the mind” sponsored by FIRST (www.usfirst.org).
The 2014 game, Aerial Assist, is played by two alliances of three teams each. Alliances compete by trying to score as many balls in goals as possible during a two-minute and 30-second match. Additional points are earned by robots working together to score goals and by throwing and catching balls over a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor as they move down the field.
The FIRST Robotics Competition is a program that challenges high school students—working with professional mentors—to design and build a robot to contend in competitions that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration, and the determination of students.
This year, S.P.A.M. is comprised of 67 students from Jensen Beach High School, Martin County High School, South Fork High School, Clark Advanced Learning Center and home schools. The team depends on donations and is supported by businesses and individuals throughout the community, as well as sponsorships by Pratt & Whitney, United Technologies, FPL, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and The Education Foundation of Martin County.
FIRST was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 to design accessible, K-12 STEM education programs that use robot challenges to build science and technology skills and interests, in a character driven program that also inspires self-confidence, leadership and life skills.
For more information, contact S.P.A.M. at email@example.com or S.P.A.M. Board Members, Nancy Peavler, 772-285-9249 or Richard Brooks, 772-341-1973; or visit their website at www.spamrobotics.com.