The Long Island School for the Gifted's robot team

The Long Island School for the Gifted (LISG) sent a team to compete in the 2019 VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky last month and came home with a new sense of camaraderie.

The South Huntington-based school won the chance to have their team of fifth and sixth graders compete in the Middle School Division against students from around the world April 24 through 27. At the local level, the team competed primarily against high school teams.

“Not a lot of people were competing at their grade [in Southern New York],” said Patricia Geyer, Head of School for LISG. “They’re a rookie team, so that was very exciting” she said of the team’s participation during the season and VEX Worlds.

In order to compete, the team had to design and build a VEX robot, learn how to code it, then have it perform the various tasks of the challenge, such as throw a ball, toggle a flag, flip a cap, and park on a platform.

The LISG team of nine — eight boys and one girl — also worked on soft skills such as collaboration and communication. The team additionally raised funds and developed sponsorship packages to make the cut. Sponsors of the team include Parabit Systems, Frankel Loughran Starr & Vallone LLP, the Long Island Nets, and many more.

The team tackled their mission by taking on different roles, such as designing, coding or driving the robot. But together, they all learned about teamwork.

“When we realized we were going to Worlds, I actually kind of doubted it at first,” said Vincent, one of the team members. “I didn’t expect to go so far.”

Kayla Ho, the team’s coach, said that for this team, winning the chance to compete in Kentucky against was an amazing opportunity.

“For a team so young, the experience of competing on the world stage is unparalleled,” she said. “Their work throughout the season has shown what they can achieve, and their potential is extraordinary.”

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