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Lafayette robotics team wins highest award heading to world championship

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Posted at 5:04 PM, Apr 05, 2023

A Lafayette Parish robotics team, Team 3616, received a prestigious award over the weekend which will move them to an international stage.

The team competed in the Bayou Regional Robotics Tournament in Kenner placing 5th in the robot competition; but received the highest honor, the FIRST (For Inspirations and Recognition of Science and Technology) Impact Award. Teams were from Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, California, and Mexico which qualified the team to attend the FIRST Championship World Competition to not only compete with the robot, but to present and compete for the Impact Award at an International Level. The FIRST Championship - FIRST Robotics Competition event will be held April 19 to April 22, 2023 in Houston. Team 3616 will be competing with about 400 of the top teams from more than 20 countries.

The Impact Award recognizes a team that reflects sustained excellence and impact within the FIRST community, in its own community and beyond. It honors a team that best
represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the mission of FIRST.

The award was created to keep the central focus of FIRST Robotics Competition on the ultimate goal of transforming the culture in ways that will inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology, according to Lisa Ranney, Head Mentor / Teacher Mentor, Robotics Team Phenomena 3616.

FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) Team 3616 has been a community team since 2011 in the Lafayette area, predominantly Lafayette Parish Public School Students. FIRST Robotics is in more than 110 countries with thousands of teams. The mission of the team has been not just about building robots; but building future innovators in the community. The team members are active advocates of STEM throughout the Lafayette area and the state of Louisiana through numerous outreach programs including workshops, summer camps, hosting math tournaments, hosting science fairs, robotic tournaments, and many speaking/robot demonstration engagements.

“I think the beauty of it all is that these students are using skills taught to them by someone else to truly make an impact on someone else,” said by L. Ranney.

Team 3616 competes at the highest level of robotics offered for high school students. They prepare them to design, build, and program a robot to compete with year- round workshops. These students are trained in the various aspects of STEM by volunteer professionals from the community. These volunteer professionals make every effort to see that the students are trained to build a new robot (approximately 100 pounds each year) with mechanical, electrical, programming, and CAD skills, Ranney said. Each year a new challenge is given at the beginning of January and a new robot is designed, built, and programmed. This year the robot runs on four swerve drive wheels and has a long extendable arm that can pick up cones and objects to place into low, mid, and high places. The students built and programmed the robot themselves with guidance from the volunteer mentors. The team competes against other schools but it’s much more than a game. It’s preparing the students for life skills and the workforce of tomorrow.

If you are interested in mentoring, joining, or supporting the team to go to the World Championship, please contact Lisa Ranney at team3616@gmail.com or lranney2@gmail.com.

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