By Brian Johnson
Five young women from Monrovia High School and their rhinestone-encrusted robot won the Inspire Award, the highest honor given at the Los Angeles FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) Regional Championship Tournament held at Monrovia this past Saturday. Along with six other teams from cities ranging from Santa Barbara to San Diego, they advance to compete with top teams from eleven western states, Alaska and Hawaii in McClellan, CA, near Sacramento on March 20-22, 2014 at the West Super-Regional FTC Championship.
These five junior class women – the “Kings and Queens” team – designed and built their own 18 by 18 inch robot from Tetrix parts, plexiglass, and machined aluminum to compete with alliances of robots on a 12 by 12 foot field. They stand out not just for their driving, design prowess, and their robot’s ability to raise a flag and pull itself up on a bar. Heads turn as they drive their purple robot “Your Highness” while wearing their signature costumes of purple-velvet-and gold-embroidered renaissance dresses. They also spread the word of robotics design as they share their robot adventures with elementary and middle-school students around Monrovia.
Engineer and computer programming judges from major regional companies chose the team from among a field of the top 48 FTC robotics teams from throughout Southern California as the "role-model" team for their on-field success, teamwork, inspiration to others, representation of the First Robotics program to their school and community, and embodiment of "Gracious Professionalism," the core value of the FIRST program.
This win is the first Regional champion from Monrovia High School in its four-year-old FTC robotics program, supported by company sponsors and members of the community and led by physics teacher Tom Dobson. Monrovia High School advanced four teams to the Los Angeles Regional Championship, which drew winners from eight qualifier competitions from Los Angeles out to the High Desert. This high school FTC after-school program is one of many opportunities supporting STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) in conjunction with Monrovia’s Math and Science Academy. A second of Monrovia High's four FTC Robotics teams, "Team R.E.D.,” won an alternate spot for the Super-Regional tournament.Winning teams in the West Super-Regional Competition will advance to the international championships in St. Louis, MO on April 23-26, 2014. The Monrovia High School FTC robotics program welcomes tax-deductible donations and company sponsorships to help cover the cost of traveling to Sacramento and hopefully on to St. Louis.