Rebel Robotics wins top awards at FIRST regional, qualifies for champsionship

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Great Neck South High School's robotics team celebrates victory. (Photo courtesy of Great Neck Public Schools)
Great Neck South High School's robotics team celebrates victory. (Photo courtesy of Great Neck Public Schools)

The Great Neck South High School Rebel Robotics Team won two prestigious awards at the Finger Lakes FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Regional Competition and earned a spot at the FIRST World Championship in Detroit this April.

The South High Robotics Team 2638, known as “Rebel Robotics,” traveled to the Finger Lakes competition in Rochester from March 13–16 to face-off against 47 of the best teams in the nation. Their robot advanced to the playoff round and the team earned two top awards: the regional Chairman’s Award and the Safety Award.

The Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award in all of FIRST. This award “honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the mission of FIRST.”

As the recipient of the regional Chairman’s Award, Rebel Robotics qualifies for the national Chairman’s Award at the FIRST Championship in Detroit. Winners of the Chairman’s Award at the Championship event are inducted into the FIRST Hall of Fame for inspiring greater levels of respect for science and technology.

The South High team also received the Safety Award, sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories. This achievement celebrates the team that progresses beyond safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards.

“We teach our team that safety drives productivity and is the foundation for all areas of their lives, including future employment opportunities,” said faculty advisor John Motchkavitz.

The FIRST Robotics Competition is a worldwide event with more than 6000 teams competing from over 50 different countries. This year’s FIRST Robotics Competition game is titled “Destination: Deep Space,” and each robot is designed to complete various tasks in a space-themed playing field, such as securing hatch panels to a spacecraft and loading cargo.

The team’s next competition will be the SBPLI Regional at Hofstra University from March 24–27. The FIRST Championship in Detroit will take place from April 24–27.

Robotics faculty advisors are business/technology department head John Motchkavitz; business/technology teachers Matthew Corrigan and Michael Passuello; and math/computer programming teacher Andrea Zinn.

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