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Robotics Team Advances to State Competition

Robotics students The Columbia Heights 7972 “Royal Engineers” Robotics team has qualified for the Minnesota First Tech Challenge (FTC) State Robotics competition in February after placing third in qualifying matches at their regional robotics competition in Eden Prairie.

Columbia Heights Public Schools has six robotics teams from Columbia Academy with more than 30 student participants. The Royal Engineers – made up of Naciima Mohamed and Jared Goodman (pictured) – also won the Motivational category at regionals and were PTC Design finalists.

“Naciima and Jared [who qualified for state] are a really focused team,” said Robotics Coach Aaron Kennedy. “They built a robot that was consistent and capable of lifting yoga balls, but they were also paying attention and made adjustments in their scoring to take advantage of the unexpected easy points provided by the beacons. I am excited to see what improvements they will make for the upcoming tournament and state competition.”

According to score sheets, this duo made judges feel like royalty, one commenting that “engineering is just in their DNA.”

The District’s 6721 “Loose Wires” won the Judges Award for their persistence and Team 7281 “Fancy Gears” were finalists for the Motivate Award.

Minnesota FTC, composed of students in grades 7-12, is part of an international robotics program that includes more than 200,000 students in 63 countries. This year’s FTC theme is Velocity Vortex. According to Coach Kennedy, teams will collaborate to build and program a robot to score points on a 12-foot field while adhering to the program’s values of Gracious Professionalism.

The public is invited to support all six District Robotic teams at the next competition 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4 at Columbia Academy, 900 49th Ave. NE, Columbia Heights. The best time to watch the robots compete in Velocity Vortex is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Coach Kennedy at 763-528-4737.