Robotics hosts FIRST Lego League

Catherine Zhang, Feature Editor

Hoping to spread awareness about STEM, the Walnut Valley Robotics team hosted a practice FIRST Lego League robotics match for elementary and middle school students on Oct. 29 at Jefferson Middle School in San Gabriel.

“Our mission is not only to build robots. We also want to reach people to bring them into STEM. We do a lot of events that spreads STEM around,” Diamond Bar High School senior captain Kenneth Wah said.

FIRST, also known as For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, hosts yearly competitions for elementary and middle school students. To prepare students for this competition, the Walnut Valley Robotics team, which competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition, a division higher than FLL, hosted this event to give younger students practice in handling the teams’ robots for the actual event.

The robots, which were constructed with lego pieces, were scored based upon the number  of tasks they could complete on the playing field under a time limit. In addition, the teams were also judged on a community project,  understanding of the robot design and core values, including teamwork and professionalism. The community project requires  teams to identify a problem related to “Animal Allies,” this year’s theme,  and then create a unique and cost-effective solution. During the competition,  teams presented their projects to the judges.

“FLL isn’t an easy competition to be a part of; it is composed of many components, which range from engineering to project presentation,” senior captain William Loo said via Facebook prior to the event. “I look forward to seeing what kind of creativity these future engineers have infused into their robots and celebrating their achievements with them as they watch their robot come to life and complete the competition tasks on the stage.”

Over 800 people attended this event. The Walnut Valley Robotics team collaborated with the San Gabriel Unified School District, which provided the location and insurance for the event. The team planned every aspect of the event, from coordinating the opening ceremony to reaching out to sponsors.

“I’m very grateful for everyone’s efforts. This was actually the biggest project that we’ve had the ambition to follow in our brief history of Walnut Valley Robotics,” senior operations lead Derrick Li said via Facebook. “In fact, I think it’s quite amazing how we’ve been able to pull off, as a second year team, what other teams of multiple years of age haven’t been able to. We look forward to moving on with our future endeavors in hosting an FTC event in January as well as competing in FRC events during spring.”