The Chantilly Robotics Team won the most prestigious award at the FIRST Robotics Competition last week, and will go to the International Championship Competition at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on April 12-14.
Named the 2007 NASA/VCU Regional Chairman's Award, Chantilly took the top prize over 65 teams where it was named as a regional semifinalist. The event was held at VCU's Siegel Center in Richmond.
CHANTILLY ROBOTICS is made up of high school students from Chantilly Academy. Each year, the team competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition, in which teams of students build a robot from a kit of parts in a six-week time period.
The Chairman's Award celebrates teams which best represent a model for other teams to emulate, and which embody the ultimate goal and purpose of FIRST: to transform the culture in ways that will inspire greater levels of respect for science and technology, as well as encourage more of today's youth to become scientists, engineers and technologists.
To receive this award, Chantilly Robotics has done outstanding work both within the FIRST organization as well as an outreach to the community. For example, last year the team constructed a motorized baby walker for a disabled infant who could not move on his own due to a growth defect in his arms and legs. After a short time, the child was able to use his baby walker to drive anywhere he wanted.
The team is currently manufacturing a voice-activated wheelchair for a similarly disabled elementary school student. These projects blossomed into a student-run organization called FIRST STEP (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Students in Technology Expanding Possibilities).
Since the inception of the organization, Chantilly Robotics has continued its work in the community. It stays active at the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy. The team was also named the official designers of the multi-million dollar robotics exhibit at the Children's Museum of Northern Virginia, planned to open in 2009.
Come see the team compete at its second and final regional at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., from March 13-17. To support the team or for more information, contact: Martin.Rothwell@fcps.edu.