Ryle High School’s Brainy Bots FTC robotics team earned Top Six honors in the 2016 FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship competition in St. Louis for the Connect Award.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) championship competition included only 130 teams from around the world, selected from 20,000 teams who competed. Final rankings in order are not yet known for the finalists.
The Brainy Bots represented the Southern region of the U.S., the state of Kentucky as well as Northern Kentucky and Boone County Schools.
The Brainy Bots include students from Ryle High School and Gray Middle School. They were a FIRST LEGO League robotics team and a Jr. FIRST LEGO League robotics team.
Most of the Brainy Bots have been together as a team since 2007, said Karen Cheser, deputy superintendent of Boone County Schools who, with Mararu Ryumae, is a coach of the team.
Cheser explained that though FIRST is more than robots, as team members they build, program and run robots in increasingly difficult challenges but they also plan and execute extensive community outreach, grow the STEM pipeline, keep detailed records of their work and plans in an engineering notebook and develop “core values,” such as collaboration and gracious professionalism.
The Brainy Bot students are:
Ryle High School
Will Henry Richards, 10th grade
Ken Ryumae, 10th grade
Tanner Schmidt, 10th grade
Alex Wilson, 10th grade
Zach St. Hilaire, 10th grade
Gray Middle School
Wyatt Richards, 8th grade
Audrey Wilson, 8th grade
Mina Ryumae, 7th grade
Kate Grayson, 7th grade
To get to the FIRST competition, they won the Connect Award for the state which advanced them to the South SuperRegional Tournament in San Antonio. Winning there earned them a spot at the World Championship competition.
FIRST was founded by Dean Kamen, a prolific inventor, entrepreneur and tireless advocate for science and technology It is the leading non-forprofit STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Match) engagement program for students worldwide.
The competition has grown so much that this year in St. Louis, activities were held in the Edward Jones Dome and America’s Center as well as the Renaissance Grand Hotel and Union Station.
Competitions included the FIRST LEGO League Champion’s Award, FIRST Tech Challenge Inspire Award and FIRST Robotic Competition Chairman’s Award.
“Our planet’s future depends on today’s kids becoming the innovators, doers, and tinkerers of tomorrow,” Kamen says. “That’s why FIRST exists — to influence young people to embrace science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as educational and professional career paths. FIRST programs are cleverly designed to get them started early and keep them involved all the way through high school and beyond.”
More than 400,000 kids around the world do research and build competitive robots under the FIRST banner. But robots are just the beginning, he says.
“FIRST kids acquire 21st century skills that employers demand, like teamwork, critical thinking, creative problem solving, and hands-on experience. In the process, they learn a lot about themselves, building self-confidence and a sense of shared community that will propel them through life.”