’s fledgling robotics team, the O-Bots, competed in a three-day robotics tournament in New York City last weekend, earning the prestigious “Rookie All-Star Award” and a berth at the International FIRST Competition in St. Louis, Missouri, next month.
Ossining was one of only six teams out of 66 to earn a spot at the International Competition, said Doug Albrecht, Ossining High School physics teacher and team mentor. About 30 students took part in the competition, with the team leaving from OHS at 7 a.m. and returning at 8 p.m. each day.
Other competitors included teams from Stuyvesant High School and Bronx High School of Science as well as teams from the United Kingdom, Brazil and Canada. The competition, which was held at the Javits Convention Center in New York City, was organized like a basketball tournament with each team playing in eight different matches. Friday was devoted to team inspections and qualifying rounds, while the actual games took place on Saturday and Sunday.
Of the 11 Rookie teams, Ossining was chosen as the Rookie All-Star for its team management, cooperation and organization. “It was tremendous to watch the team in action,” said Albrecht. “As the advisor, I was able to step back and let the team leaders run the show.”
Albrecht said the students deserved the honor of competing at the International level because they were so dedicated, coming in during vacation and on weekends to perfect the robot. Michael Lema, a senior on the robotics team, said they had set winning the Rookie Award as their goal when the process began months ago but had forgotten about it by the time the competition arrived.
“When they called our team name, the whole crew was speechless,” said Lema, who plans to major in mechanical engineering at Manhattan College next year. “We were so excited.”
Lema said the FIRST Competition gave him and his teammates a “real-world experience where we functioned like a firm. We were given funds and a project and a deadline. It was a great opportunity.”
The Robotics Club was made possible by funding from Ossining MATTERS and technical support from IBM, and grants from JCPenney, Tuscan Grille in Briarcliff, and several other local businesses. To attend the International competition next month, the team will need to raise money for the registration fee and travel expenses. “I really hope that we are able to raise the money because this is a tremendous honor and they worked very hard to achieve it,” said Albrecht.
PLEASE BE SURE TO CONGRATULATE THE OSSINING TEAM ON THEIR WIN BY CLICKING ON THE "COMMENT" BUTTON.