Students and mentors of Tehachapi High School's Robotics Team have good reason to celebrate after being recognized as the top team at the FIRST Robotics Regional Competition at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas by winning the event's highest honor, the Chairman's Award. (Mark Pestana photo)
Four of the five Southern California high school robotics teams sponsored or supported by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center are heading to the FIRST national robotics championship competition in Atlanta, Ga., April 15 to 17.
Members of Tehachapi High School's Robotics Team Casey Mitchell, Brandon House, and Andy Miller (from left) perform adjustments to their robot prior to a qualifying match during the FIRST Robotics Regional Competition at the University of Las Vegas. (Mark Pestana photo) The latest Dryden-sponsored team to qualify for the prestigious national competition sponsored by For Inspiration and Recognition of Technology – or FIRST – is the Tehachapi High School Cyber Penguins from Tehachapi, Calif. The Tehachapi High team earned the privilege by winning the top honor at the Las Vegas regional robotics competition, the Chairman's Award, April 3.
Considered FIRST's most prestigious award, the Chairman's Award honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. The award helps keep the central focus of the FIRST Robotics Competition on the goal of inspiring greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology.
A week earlier, The Lancaster High Eagle Robotics team from Lancaster, Calif., received the Engineering Inspiration award at the Colorado Regional Games in Denver March 26 – 27, qualifying the team to compete in the Atlanta Championships. The Engineering Inspiration award is the second-highest award given at a regional event, and celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team's school and community.
Two other Dryden-supported teams that compete in the separate FIRST Tech Challenge – the PHI team and a Garagebots team - also will be going to the Atlanta Nationals. The Tech Challenge teams use a smaller robot. The two teams qualified for the national championships by being combining their talents in the winning alliance at the San Diego regional earlier this year, The PHI team also received the FIRST Inspire Award at another regional contest in Las Vegas.
Tehachapi High School Robotics team members Brandon House and Taylor Wood drive their robot into scoring position during the FIRST Robotics Regional Competition at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. During the first 30 seconds of each 2.5 minute match, the robot autonomously uses its camera system to seek the targeting cue located above the goal. (Mark Pestana photo) The fifth team supported in part by NASA Dryden, Antelope Valley High School's "Robolopes," from Lancaster, Calif., did not score high enough in their two regional competitions this spring to advance to the national championships.
The NASA Dryden sponsorships are made possible through the NASA Robotics Alliance within NASA's Science Mission Directorate. A number of current or retired NASA Dryden employees serve as mentors to the high school robotics teams.