Robotics Team 7th @ Tech Valley FIRST®

Congratulations to Chatham High School’s robotics team for their outstanding performance at the Tech Valley Regional March 15-18. They came in 7th place overall and were the team captains of the 6th alliance going into the quarterfinals matches. This year, Chatham took joined 34 other teams of high school students from the Capital Region, New York state, Brazil, and Canada—along with hundreds of teachers, industry mentors, parents, and 3,000 pounds of metal, gears, and electronics— to test their skills in a unique competition where math, science, and engineering excellence are celebrated.  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute once again hosted the New York Tech Valley Regional FIRST® Robotics competition, March 15-17, on the Rensselaer campus in the East Campus Athletic Village.

Representing Chatham at this event are students Ben Rippel, Zach Gregg, Emma Gregg, Joe Intrieri, Schuyler Rochester, Caden Holsapple, John Hoag, Emma Crosby, Phoebe Hebert, Pamela Mountain, Robin Tucksmith, and Brady Oles, who competed under the team name Artemis 6621.


Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, who introduced the Slingshot™ water purification system and the “Luke” robotic prosthetic arm, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was created to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people, their schools, and their communities.

In its 27th season, the FIRST Robotics Competition anticipates that over 91,000 high school students representing 3,647 teams in the U.S. and 27 countries worldwide will be competing in 63 regional events and 10 district events.

“It’s not about the robots—it’s never been about the robots,” said Dean Kamen, president of DEKA Research & Development. “We are not using kids to build robots. We are using robots to build kids.”

In its fifth year, the New York Tech Valley FIRST® Regional Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sports with the rigors of science and technology. Working with adult mentors, students had six weeks to design, build, program, and test their robots to meet the season’s engineering challenge. By combining the excitement of sport and beauty of art with the rigors of science and technology, teams of high school students are challenged to design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform tasks against a field of competitors, according to the organization. 2018 marks Chatham’s second year competing at this event.

The 2018 competition, FIRST POWER UP, finds teams trapped in an 8-bit video game. Each three-team alliance had three ways to help defeat the boss: Tipping the scale or the alliance’s switch in their favor to earn points, exchanging power cubes for power-ups (force, boost, and levitate) to gain a temporary advantage during the match, and climbing the scale tower to face the boss. The alliance with the highest score at the end of the match, which includes autonomous and teleoperated periods, defeated the boss and won the game.

“What we’re doing is way more than a competition,” said Paul Schoch, associate professor in the Rensselaer Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering department, and director of the university’s Center for Initiatives in PreCollege Education (CIPCE), who is serving as a co-chair along with Deborah Bigelow-Saulsbery. “While not every robot can win, all of the kids do. FIRST inspires a lifelong love of learning that is critical to persevere in today’s ever-changing workforce. We’re developing the innovators, technology leaders, and creative problem-solvers who will make the world a better place.”

This year, more than 1,000 students will compete at the New York Tech Valley Regional to earn a spot at the international FIRST® Championship to be held April 18-21 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, and April 25-28 at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan.

By participating in FIRST, Chatham students gain confidence to explore the innovation process while learning valuable science, engineering, technology, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. FIRST Robotics Competition participants are eligible to apply for more than $50 million in FIRST Scholarships from leading colleges and universities. Students also learn and apply the FIRST ethos of Gracious Professionalism®.

The FIRST Robotics Competition New York Tech Valley Regional sponsors and volunteers come from some of the most highly regarded organizations, including GlobalFoundries, ASML, GE, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, National Grid, KLA-Tencor, Applied Materials, Lam Research, AMD, Bechtel, SCREEN Semiconductor Solution, SCREEN Americas, nfrastructure, Edwards Vacuum, Pickett Family Foundation, Accumetra, and TEL Tokyo Electron, Stewart’s Shops., Jim Cummins, and Nancy Casler. Sponsors provide resources including time and talent from professional mentors, services, equipment, financial contributions, and volunteers.

For more information about the New York Tech Valley Regional Robotics Competition, visit:

 Go Chatham!
Posted in District, High School.