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Syracuse city students to compete in robotics world championships

Tom Magnarelli
Syracuse students display their robots at the Common Council Chambers.

Three teams of Syracuse city high school and middle schools students will advance to the Vex Worlds Robotic Championship in Kentucky in April. Officials describe it as a significant achievement because of the impact robotics will have in the future. 

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Kelsey Lent-Moore, an 11th grader at Corcoran High School in Syracuse, demonstrates how the tennis ball throwing robot her team invented works. This current model took her team to the state finals and won them the excellence award. 

“We all really worked together to build it an improve it and at competitions we went and we tested in-between our matches,” Lent-Moore said.

Lent-Moore’s team will now be taking their design to the world championships to compete with teams from all around the world. Teams from Grant Middle School and Nottingham High School in Syracuse will also be competing.

They were all recognized at a recent Syracuse Common Council meeting and Councilor Susan Boyle said it is an important accomplishment for the kids to work in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Some of the girls who participated from Corcoran were not even in the robotics club but joined in on the competition to fulfill academic requirements.       

“Pulling these girls who were real smart who weren’t necessarily into STEM or into robotics into the program and seeing them achieve like that I think is telltale of why the STEM program is reaching out to girls because they are good at it,” Boyle said. "Clearly, robotics is our future. We’re looking to robotics in a lot of things, not only just for space exploration but also they use robotics for amputees and for medical reasons.”

A team from the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica will also be advancing to a different contest, the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri in April.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.