The Conserve School Robotics Team entered the Illinois State Championship tournament as a dry run for tournaments in the spring. Team members thought that they could discover their robot’s glitches during the tournament and then have a few months to fix them before entering a tournament “for real” in the spring. To the team’s surprise and delight, their “dry run” in Chicago this weekend went so well that they not only placed first in the competitive events — they also won the highest award given out by the FIRST Tech Challenge program, the Inspire Award. This honor is awarded to the team that best demonstrates the FIRST Tech Challenge program’s emphasis on “Gracious Professionalism” while at the same time performing at a high level in the competitive events. During the competition, our team members demonstrated not only excellent teamwork within their team and with their two allied teams, they went out of their way to assist teams they were competing against. During the competition, a number of teams had difficulty with software programs, for example, and Conserve School students came to their aid, assisting them in repairing the faulty software.
Because our team won the Inspire Award, it is automatically entered into the international championship tournament in Atlanta. Any team can compete in any state championship, so the team is also considering competing for the Wisconsin or Minnesota championships later in the year. Team members Begench, Cesar, Ben, Andy, Angie, Megan, Gabe, Casey, Teagan, Mariah, Jackie, and William and Coach Robert Eady all put in many hours preparing for the tournament.
Watch the short clip below to see the exciting moment our team discovers they’ve won and to hear our team’s reaction.