Garden City Robotics League Moves on to Championship
The Garden City Robotics
League (GCRL) just finished a strong showing at the FIRST LEGO League Qualifier
Tournament held at Central Islip Senior High School on February 2nd and 3rd.
This was the GCRL’s first season and they had four teams, about 30 students,
competing in the Qualifier. 76 First Lego League (FLL) teams from all over Long
Island participated in a full day of Robotic competitions, presentations and
Team tasks. The theme this year was Senior Solutions: helping Seniors
overcome challenges in their daily lives.
During the Qualifiers and the
Tournament teams compete on a Robot Challenge and a Project. During 4 Robot matches, they had to
work as a team under pressure and come up with solutions to programming
problems on the spot. There were also 4 separate judged events in which they
present and answer questions about their Senior Solution Project, Robot
Strategy, and an impromptu
"Teamwork" mission. The children of GCRL did all of that
with enthusiasm, spirit and gracious professionalism. About half the teams from that event get to advance to
the FLL Tournament on March 3rd at Longwood HS in Middle Island.
Among those teams will be the Robotic Rebels who won First Place for “Innovative
Solution”. GCRL’s other teams who
competed are Team Extreme, GC Eat.Sleep.Program, and The Ballistic Builders.
Coached by Steve Giammona and Brian Sanguyu, the Robotic
Rebels has seven members: Steven Giammona, 11; Anthony Sanguyu, 10; Keith
DeStaebler, 10; Justin MacFall, 10; Christina Marciano, 11; Ronnie Marciano, 9;
and Kevin McGoldrick, 10. The
Robotic Rebels worked hard for several months, meeting multiple times a week,
to program their robot and to invent the “Senior Saver,” a wireless device to
shut off the main gas valve in a home during an emergency situation. Asked by
one of the panel judges at the Feb. 2 qualifying competition in Central Islip,
“As a team, how did you choose the problem that you did to study?” Team member
Steven Giammona replied, “We were thinking of a problem and recently my grandma,
she lives in Connecticut, tripped, and at the same time we heard about a story
about an old man during Hurricane Sandy whose house blew up. We took these two
problems that we heard about at the same time and we put them together, and we
found out that falls and gas-related accidents were the two leading causes of
[senior injuries and fatalities in the home.” The team realized that what seniors need is, when they trip
and cannot get up, “something that will shut off their gas,” Keith DeStaebler
added. The team acted out a skit for the panel of judges wherein an elderly
gentleman turns on his stovetop to boil water to make a cup of tea, then
returns to his chair to resume watching TV. When the tea kettle whistles, the gentleman gets us but
trips on his way back to the stove. Thankfully, he is wearing his Senior Saver
around his neck and is able to wirelessly shut off the gas.
Eat.Sleep.Program took a trip to A Step Ahead and learned how Prosthetics were
made. Their Senior partner interview made a lasting impression on the
kids in educating them how smoking can cause vascular problems leading to
amputations. Andrew Cheng said that he "never wants to smoke and
will educate his friends on the problems smoking causes." Liam Banahan
explained how no matter how many times they worked with their robot on
performing a mission, sometimes things still went wrong, saying "this
is also what happens in the real world and we need to learn how to cope when
things go wrong." Sean Jaeger, Cyrus Lalehzar, Connor Dane and
Garrett Treanor were all part of the team and participated in the FLL
Qualifying tournament. Each of them displayed FLL's core values including
Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition at the tournament. Coaches Danielle
Lalehzar ,Melissa Jaeger and Patrick Treanor were extremely proud of their
rookie team's accomplishments over the season.
With Coaches Martha Yasso and
Suzy Dorney, Team Extreme chose to research why seniors fall for their FLL
project. They interviewed older family members to find out what caused their
fall. The team came up with "The Balance Process" as their solution. "The
Balance Process" is a combination of using a cane called the Hurry Cane,
exercises like Tai Chi, and safety proofing the home. The team worked together
to create a presentation board, PowerPoint presentation, and flyer to educate
friends and family about their findings. Team members are: Ian Yasso, Robbie
Treanor, Sharon Cunningham, Ryan Cunningham, Liam Dorney, and Ryan Murphy.
The Ballistic Builders learned
an important lesson when a computer problem erased most of their Robot programming
just hours before the match. “This is what happens in real life”, said coach
Peter Arianas, and with coach James Lynch, and GCHS Senior and Mentor Alex
Kinn, the team hunkered down and re-worked their programming. The team members were fueled by Dunkin
Donuts provided by a team parent Pastor Wanda Lawry Hughes. Pastor Hughes
generously provides space to the GCRL in the Garden City Presbyterian Church. The team also worked with Senior partner, Mr. Scollard, the Grandfather of two of their team
members Trey and Riley Bauer, to discuss challenges he and other seniors faced.
The team researched arthritis, and created the “Keyhorn” – a dual purpose tool
that helps seniors grasp their keys and help them put on their shoes. Member
Timmy DeMaro explained to judges that they came up with two separate inventions
and decided to merge their two ideas. The team put on a skit with co-hosts Max
Genova and Matt Hughes, senior citizen played by Jimmy Lynch, scientist
inventors Timmy DeMaro and Brandon Noll, Rappers George Arianas and Trey Bauer
and “Deal Closer” Riley Bauer.
At the end of the event, students
from all the different teams came together and danced to music provided by a
DJ. It was a great celebration of their hard work.
Please come out to Longwood
HS in Middle Island on March 3rd to cheer on GCRL Jr. FLL teams Team
Fun and Crazy Creators, and FLL team Robotic Rebels. For more information email
Trish Lynch firstname.lastname@example.org,
and see usfirst.org.
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