Green Meadow PolyGnomes Head to World Championships in St. Louis Today

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After months of advancing through various competitions, Green Meadow Waldorf School’s robotics team, The PolyGnomes, are headed to St. Louis today for the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship, taking place from April 22-25. There the PolyGnomes will play the top 2% of teams in the country, plus 30 international teams.

The Green Meadow Waldorf School PolyGnomes

The team has worked so hard. We are looking forward to our trip and to the lessons we can learn from the teams against whom we'll compete. --James Madsen, Team Coach

After months of advancing through various competitions, Green Meadow Waldorf School’s robotics team, The PolyGnomes, are headed to St. Louis today for the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship, taking place from April 22-25. There, the PolyGnomes will play the top 2% of teams in the country, plus 30 international teams.

The team has also received two prestigious judged prizes in recent months: the PTC Robot Design Award and the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award. The PolyGnomes, from a small liberal arts school in Rockland County, NY, continue to win against teams from large schools, elite schools specializing in STEM, and teams heavily supported by technology companies.

The PolyGnomes are coached by GMWS physics teacher James Madsen and assisted by math teacher Lisa Krogh. The team of seven students has worked together since September, when the 2014-15 FTC game, Cascade Effect, was revealed. They wove together a strategic vision of how to achieve high game scores within their engineering capacity and budget. The result is a swift, powerful, and versatile machine that easily navigates the playing field, shoots up and down ramps, wrangles goals, rapidly sweeps up game elements (whiffle balls) and drops them in increasingly taller scoring tubes, all while avoiding steep penalties for infractions and defensive actions by opponents. The PolyGnome robot is widely admired by other teams and coaches for its unique design and consistent high scoring, as well as the outstanding performance of the drive team in match after match. A video clip of one of the PolyGnomes’ recent matches in NYC can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rPTb2pJQac .

The senior leaders of the PolyGnomes team are Danny Chang (captain, lead project engineer, and ‘CEO’), Chester Lee (engineer, strategist, and opposition scout), Brian Frei (one of the best robot drivers in the state), Takama Saeki (student match coach and pit chief), and James Yang (engineering notebook scribe.) While all teams boast top science and math students, the PolyGnomes are quite unique in that they are also varsity athletes, outstanding musicians, and skilled writers. And, while there are machines technically superior to theirs, in the end it is the proficiency, focus, and flexible thinking of the Green Meadow Waldorf students that has won so many matches and tournaments this season.

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Vicki Larson
@GreenMeadowNY
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