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South High Robotics Team Excels at Events

Kudos to Great Neck South High School’s Robotics Team for capturing the first place Alliance Award at the School to Business Partnership of Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics High School Competition and for winning the prestigious Underwriters Laboratory Industrial Safety Award at the event. The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition took place at Hofstra University.

The Regional win propelled South’s team to Atlanta for the International Championships where they took two top awards. The team was named a Finalist for the Underwriters Safety Award, and Team Safety Captains Natasha Banchik and Valerie Suttenberg were named All Stars of the Day, from a field of over 10,000 students. Over 400 top teams competed at the International event.

South’s Robotics Team consists of some 60 students, ninth through twelfth grade, drawn from the academic Robotics classes and the Robotics Club. They work in groups on different aspects of robotics, including: drive train, strategy, chassis, pneumatics, electronics, design, transport, and safety. Winning at the Regional event, according to John Motchkavitz, faculty co-advisor and business/technology department head, “was an outstanding accomplishment for a second-year team. Most teams that make it to the finals are well-established.” Technology teacher Matthew Corrigan is also a team advisor.

Teams from throughout the tri-state area, and from as far away as Ohio, competed at the Regional event. Teams competed against other teams in a round-robin fashion, with South emerging as one of the three victorious teams. Teams were required to research, design, and build a robot within six weeks, according to competition guidelines. Just before the event, the South team learned that their robot was seven pounds overweight, due to an initial weighing error. The team skillfully drilled holes in the robot to lighten its weight.

The Robotics Team looks forward to competing, and excelling, again next year.