Pope John XXIII High School Robotics Team Wins New York City FTC Championship

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A second team from Pope John XXIII High School of Sparta, NJ has qualified for the FIRST Robotics World Championship by winning the New York City Championships held on March 13 at Jacob Javits Convention Center. Team 247 won all ten of their matches to take first place in a field of 47 teams. The FIRST Robotics World Championship will be held in Atlanta, Georgia from April 14-17, 2010.

A second team from Pope John XXIII High School of Sparta, NJ has qualified for the FIRST Robotics World Championship by winning the New York City Championships held on March 13 at Jacob Javits Convention Center. Pope John's "Team 247" won all ten of their matches to take first place in a field of 47 teams. The FIRST Robotics World Championship will be held in Atlanta, Georgia from April 14-17, 2010.

The NYC Championship event was the largest FTC Robotics State level tournament ever held, with teams from New York, New Jersey, and even from as far away as Jamaica.

Previously, at the New Jersey Championships on February 7, another Pope John team (Team 248) had qualified for the World Championships. It is rare for two teams from the same school to qualify, since only 100 out of 1,300 teams worldwide are invited to the prestigious event.    

Pope John has two teams of ten students each. This is the third season Pope John had fielded an FTC Robotics team. Last year, one of the two Pope John teams qualified for the FTC World Championship in Atlanta, and finished 8th in their division of 50 teams, a very good showing.

The robots are built to compete in a new game announced at the start of each season. This year's game is called “Hot Shot!” It requires the robots to harvest wiffle balls off the arena floor and shoot them into various goals. FTC Robots are medium sized, fitting in an eighteen-inch cube. The Pope John teams use sophisticated sensors which allow the robots to find the goal and score points even without a student driver during a 30-second "autonomous" part of the game. Student drivers then take control for the final 2 minutes of each contest.

In addition to competition, Pope John's FTC robotics team has also participated in many community outreach programs, including demonstrating robots at the Sussex Fairgrounds Boy Scout Jamboree, hosting a grade school FLL Robotics tournament at Pope John XXIII High School, demonstrating robotics at Sparta Day festivities, and demonstrating their robots to the public at the Liberty Science Center.

FIRST is a world wide robotics league founded by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and many other devices. FIRST was designed to inspire students in science and technology. This year $12 million are available in college scholarships for FIRST Robotics participants.

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Steve Pendergrast

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