by Jackie Gong
North and South’s combined Ligerbots team sent 30 members to participate in its first district qualifying competition of the year, won the Chairman’s Award and placed third out of 23 teams. The competition took place at UMass Dartmouth Saturday, March 14, according to junior Lily Gomberg, who is part of the Outreach team for North.
Ligerbots is a For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics team, meaning each year they build a new robot to compete in competitions, according to Gomberg. “The organization that sponsors the competition, FIRST, comes out with a new challenge every year on Jan. 1, and students have six weeks to design, program, and build a robot meeting the challenge,” she said.
The team came in first place for the Chairman’s Award, the most prestigious award offered on the district level. This accomplishment allowed the team to automatically advance to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute regional competition, taking place April 9-11.
This year’s challenge was titled, “Recycle Rush,” where students had to create a robot that stacked bins on top of each other and placing a recycling can on top. Each bin or recycling can stacked gained more points, said Gomberg.
The award was decided on choosing teens who advance the message of FIRST and STEM education to the community, according to Gomberg.
Winning the Chairman’s Award in the competition consisted of three parts: the written portion, including an essay created by students before the competition, a presentation to the judges given by three members of the team, and if the team advances, a three minute, student-created video. The video was about the team and focused on momentum and capacity, bridging and connecting, student leadership, and team building.
The team’s robot, “has an elevator arm to pull boxes and lift them up to place on top of each other, and wheels to move around, which are controlled with an Xbox controller,” said Gomberg. The robot is about six feet tall, and costs around $4,000. All the electrical, mechanical, programming, and organizational parts of building the robot are all done by the student-run team.
The team hopes to make it to the world championships, gain more sponsors, and spread the message of STEM, said Gomberg.
The team is competing next at Northeastern March 27-28, a competition open to the public, and is planning to present at the Mayor’s STEM Night March 30.