North American Open Championship @ LegoLand

The 2012 Senior Solutions season saw Exit 5 Robotics win trophies nearly 3000 miles apart, from sea to shining sea, from the Garden State to the Golden State, and from Livingston-Land to Lego-Land.  To close out the season, the team squished their enthusiasm, their robots, their research project, and their programs into a dozen carry on suitcases and flew to California for the FLL North American Open Championships in Carlsbad.  Against 75 top teams from North America and two teams specially invited from South Korea, Exit 5 Robotics competed intensely while demonstrating graciousness in a professional manner.

In the three judging portions of the competition, Core Values, Research Project, and Robot Design, the team qualified for awards eligibility in the following categories,  Core Values-Inspiration, Core Values-Gracious Professionalism, and Robot-Strategy & Innovation.  In the robot game, the team’s world class scores on their home practice table were thrown askew by damage in transit and the different playing field.  At the end of the competition, 23 North American teams won awards.  Exit 5 Robotics’ high spirits and friendly competition carried them to a Gracious Professionalism 2nd Place award.

As noted by FIRST: “Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It’s a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.

In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.”

This FLL season’s research theme, Senior Solutions, revolved around keeping older adults independent, engaged, and connected.  Team members commented that it was hard work but never boring and always fun.  The team eagerly looks forward to next year’s FLL challenge.


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