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FIRST Technical Challenge Team 7912 from Bedford wins fourth in competition at Lincoln Labs

Friday, January 31, 2014

Cary Lee, a freshman from Bedford High School, Mac Chen, an eighth-grader, and Fern Gagnon, a seventh-grader from Ross A. Lurgio Middle School, traveled to Lexington, Mass., to compete as Team 7912 in a FIRST Technical Challenge scrimmage on Dec. 14.

FTC is a FIRST Robotic competition that is open to students in grades 7-12. This year’s challenge, called Block Party, involved using a robot to move blocks into baskets, detect an infrared beacon, raise a flag and hang from a cross bar. Throughout the challenges, teams are strongly encouraged to show gracious professionalism as they develop their robots and compete.

Team 7912, also known by their chosen nickname, EggsECUTION, can be spotted easily at competitions because of their bright yellow team shirts. They came in fourth in a competition with 10 teams. They partnered with five of these teams in alliances. The other teams were all from towns in Massachusetts, ranging from three teams from Lexington to teams from Williston and Arlington. One team from Lexington, Team 7297, was particularly helpful during the hardware inspection phase of the event.

Team 7912 previously competed in a scrimmage in Natick, Mass., along with two other team members, Alex Adams, a freshman at Bedford High School, and Taylor Lee, a seventh-grader from Lurgio, where they placed third among a field of eight teams.

The team has been meeting frequently since it formed in October. Zach Fowler, the tech education teacher at Lurgio and Bedford High School, has been a great source of support for this rookie FTC team. He met with the coach, Jack Chen, and one of the team’s mentors, Laura Chen, to provide key information on the other two FIRST-related clubs in Bedford, the FIRST Lego League Team and the FIRST Robotics Challenge Team.

Fern Gagnon had just finished participating on the Lego League Team and then came to join the FTC Team. The team’s two other mentors are Mandy Chen and Ryan Wilson, who are both members of the BHS Class of 2012.

Team 7912 will compete in tournaments in January and February to see if they can be the rare rookie team to make it out of regional competitions to the national competition in April in St. Louis, Missouri. The team is currently ranked fifth out of 37 teams in the state of Massachusetts.

The team is currently seeking sponsors to fund the cost of the robot and the software to run it. Sponsors will be featured on the back of the team T-shirts. The team can also accept a few more members who can help with building, testing, programming in robotics or fundraising. Those interested in joining the team can contact the team coach, Jack Chen, at 289-4047 and those who can offer financial support can contact Laura Chen at 289-4636.

Information about all of FIRST’s activities is available at www.usfirst.org.

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