Fifteen Long Island teams were award winners at a regional robotics competition, and five of those advanced to a national contest.
The 16th Annual Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition attracted more than 2,000 students from 51 high schools over three days at Hofstra University in March. FIRST is an acronym -- For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.
Participants worked with mentors to design and build a robot over six weeks using a kit of parts. This year's theme, "Recycle Rush," challenged three-team alliances to score points by stacking totes on scoring platforms, capping them with recycling containers, and disposing of pool noodles, which represented litter.
"All teams demonstrated tremendous teamwork, gracious professionalism, and critical thinking, but these winners went above and beyond to overcome challenges of the competition," said Debra Winter, competition director for the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, the event's sponsor.
Winners were: P.R.I.D.E. (Team 3171) of Westhampton Beach High School, Imagery Award and Regional Winner No. 1; Red Dragons (Team 527) of Plainedge High School, Rockwell Automation Innovation in Control Award; Pierson Whalers (Team 28) of Pierson High School, Xerox Creativity Award; Robotic Eagles (Team 358) of Hauppauge High School, Delphi Excellence in Engineering Award; Rebels (Team 2638) of Great Neck South High School, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Entrepreneurship Award and Underwriters Laboratories Industrial Safety Award; Floyd (Team 287) of William Floyd High School, Judge's Award; Huntington Robotics (Team 5016) of Huntington High School, General Motors Industrial Design Award; Mechanical Marauders (Team 271) of Bay Shore High School, Motorola Quality Award; Kingsmen (Team 5736) of Kings Park High School, Rookie Inspiration Award; Team Supreme (Team 5659) of Bridgehampton High School, Rookie All Star Award and Highest Rookie Seed Award; Sachem Aftershock (Team 263) of Sachem East and Sachem North high schools, Regional Finalist No. 2; BayBots (Team 601) of Hampton Bays High School, Regional Finalist No. 3; Robo Gym (Team 3950) of North Shore High School, Regional Winner No 2; T-Birds (Team 3137) of Connetquot High School, Regional Winner No. 3; Raiders (Team 329) of Patchogue-Medford High School, Regional Engineering Inspiration Award.
Teams 5659, 3171, 3950, 3137 and 329 advanced to the FIRST Robotics Championship, held in St. Louis on April 22-25.
LONG BEACH: Odyssey of the Mind
A Long Beach High School team is the only Long Island group advancing to the 2015 World Finals of Odyssey of the Mind, to be held in Michigan on May 20-23, after placing second in their division at the state level in Binghamton.
The Long Beach students were asked to put a video-game spin on the story of Pandora's box by creating a skit with a prologue depicting the original story, three characters representing different evils that escaped the box, and a power meter that represented the health of the gamer character.
Other Nassau County teams reaching the state level came from Caroline Atkinson Intermediate School in Freeport, Locust Valley Middle School and the Massapequa school district.
COUNTYWIDE: Odyssey of the Mind
Teams from Our Lady of Wisdom Regional School in Port Jefferson and Westhampton Beach Elementary School were the only Suffolk County groups to advance to the state level of Odyssey of the Mind in Binghamton.
Wisdom Lane placed first in two regional divisions -- one that challenged teams to create a rubber-band-powered device to complete a task, and another that challenged them to build a weight-bearing structure made of balsa wood and glue.
Westhampton Beach took first place in a regional division for creating a performance in the style of an old silent movie.
ISLANDWIDE: Latin Certamen
More than 300 Latin students from 18 local schools competed in the 17th Annual Certamen, a competition designed to test student knowledge in topics such as Latin grammar, vocabulary and mythology. Each school was represented by a four-pupil team in four levels of proficiency.
This year's first-place winners were: Riverhead High School, Level 1; Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, Port Jefferson, Level 2; Garden City High School, Level 3; Paul D. Schreiber High School, Port Washington, Advanced Level.
The event was sponsored by the Suffolk Classical Society.