Editor’s Note: The following is a republished press release … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at jstein@ithacavoice.com.

Community announcement:

Trumansburg, N.Y. — The Trumansburg Robot Raiders competed in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics World Championship on April 22- 26. They competed against 600 of the best FIRST Robotics teams from North America and around the world in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Countries represented included Turkey, Mexico, Australia, Israel, Canada and China.

In only its second year, the team finished in 10th place in the qualification rounds and their alliance finished in 5th place in the elimination rounds in their division.  Overall, the team’s average score was ranked 41st  (out of the 600 teams) across all divisions in the qualification rounds.  The teams OPR – a statistic that rates the team’s performance and contribution to its alliances – was ranked 30th overall across all divisions (out of 600 teams).

FIRST Robotics programs are for high school students and are called the “Varsity Sport for the Mind”.  And it’s the only Varsity sport where “everyone can turn pro.”  Students that participate in FIRST programs are eligible for over $20M in scholarships.

The robotics team does much more than just build 120 lb 6 foot tall robots.  In addition to all the technical aspects of designing, fabricating and programming the robot in a 6 week build season the team has to do business planning; develop branding and marketing campaigns; write grants, do presentations to sponsors and organize and fundraisers; design and build websites and multi-media videos.

As lead mentor Roy Westwater describes it, “It’s like a small startup company.  It’s not only real world engineering; it’s real world business development and product development. The experience these students gain from this program goes well beyond the classroom and provides real-world insights and experience.“

Over $20,000 was raised in less than 30 days to support the team’s trip and entrance fees to the WORLD Championships.  Corporate supporters include Xerox, Envisage Information Systems, Memory-Map, Tompkins Trust Company, BorgWarner, GrammaTech, CFCU Community Credit Union and Ehrhart Energy. The team is also supported by grants from the TCSD Foundation and the Trumansburg Rotary.

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.