Collaboration is FIRST for Port Jeff robotics team

Collaboration is FIRST for Port Jeff robotics team

Earl L. Vandermeulen High School robotics team. Photo courtesy PJSD

Members of the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School robotics team took part in the recent FIRST competition at Hofstra University, putting their knowledge to the test against 50 other New York high school teams and six international teams from as far as India and Taiwan. 

This year, Port Jefferson was joined by Mount Sinai High School students. Their combined efforts helped the team make it to the final rounds to place seventh overall — an extremely challenging event to win, given the level of international competition. 

Students used their math, science and engineering abilities and took months to design and build their robot, following strict rules, limited resources and an intense time limit. The teams were challenged to raise funds, design a brand, hone teamwork skills and program their industrial-size robots to play a complex field game against like-minded competitors.

“We call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate sport for the mind,” Port Jefferson’s technology and engineering teacher and robotics team adviser Brian Chalmers said. “Applying skills learned in the classroom during competition is always a positive opportunity for our students. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get.” 

He added, “We are proud of our students and grateful for our professional volunteer mentors who shared their time and talents to guide these students to success.”