Robotics teams at Our Lady of the Presentation set for FLL championships

Robotics teams at Our Lady of the Presentation set for FLL championships

The robotics squad at Our Lady of the Presentation School will be well represented at the FIRST Lego League championships this weekend at Union Station in Kansas City.

The Lee’s Summit-based Catholic school had three teams in the fifth, sixth and eighth grades qualify for the 40-team regional competition. The teams will compete at the all-day event beginning at 8:30 Jan. 17.

The competition is free and opens to the public at 11:45 a.m.

“There were over 160 teams that competed for the 40 spots,” said Janet Scheier, a parent volunteer for the team. “The fact that all three teams qualified this year is amazing.”

Scheier said the school’s robotics team started about four years ago and four of the five members of the eighth-grade team have participated since its inception. There are four members on the fourth-grade team and five on the sixth-grade team.

Dedication has gotten each team to the championship, Scheier said.

“Especially the eighth-grade team,” she said. “They are my little pioneers. To watch that team this year has been phenomenal. They get it. They know what each other’s gifts and talents are and they know each other’s strong points and they are utilizing them to the best of their abilities and that is what is neat to see.”

Scheier’s daughter, Theresa, is on the eighth-grade team, which qualified based on a presentation on Missouri’s impact on the Civil War. Four of them spent 14 hours touring regional battle sites in Missouri and just below the state line in Arkansas to research their topic.

The group then created an online tour of the battle grounds in Butler, Lone Jack, Westport in Kanas City, Springfield and Pea Ridge, Ark.

They later added to the online tour sites in Lexington and at Little Blue.

“Three of them were like really far away down south,” Theresa said. “But, it was really fun because we got to spend the day together.”

Team member and fellow traveler Christopher Pouncil said creating the tour was only half the fun. He enjoyed the trip as well.

“I learned I could deal with them a lot longer than I thought,” Christopher joked.

Eighth-grade students Kelsey Wilcoxson and Dani Rotert, who both also made the trip, said they are anxious for the FLL championships.

“I’m very excited,” Wilcoxson said. “(Practice every day this week) was kind of stressful at first, but it’s great.”

The team also includes Jacob Sellinger, who he joined the group in October.

Presentation’s fifth-grade team qualified after creating a board game similar to Monopoly on how to learn more about asthma. The sixth-grade team advanced based on their presentation on how children ages 9 and up can make better food choices.

“They created (a concept for) an app for Google glasses where when you look at food and anything that has over 30 percent fat content, it would make look unappetizing,” Janet Scheier said. “They have a website for their idea and they know what the next steps are to create the app.”

Jodi Briggs, principal at Presentation, said she is a strong supporter of the robotics team, and praised Scheier and other parent volunteers for supporting students.

“It’s just grown,” Briggs said of the program. “It’s amazing to me because … it’s an opportunity for all these kids from different aspects who might not integrate together to come together and be successful. I don’t think people understand the depth and magnitude of this program .”

Story from Lee’s Summit Journal