Pittsburgh School Takes Top Honors in Regional Robotics Competition

(Pittsburgh, PA) - City Charter High School is gearing up to take its FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics team to its first National Championship.

On March 10, 2006 the City Charter High School FIRST Robotics team, a rookie entry, walked away with a regional title securing them a berth in the April 27 Championship in Atlanta, Ga.

"We are just so very proud of this team," said Rick Wertheimer, principal at City Charter High. "They came in with these trophies and they all had this sense of accomplishment."

For a school that is rooted deeply in academics and has yet to celebrate many sporting victories, Wertheimer said it was with a great sense of pride that he can place the FIRST Robotics Regional Team Trophy and the Rookie Inspiration Award and Highest Rookie Seed (Performance Award) in a trophy case within the school.

City Charter High was able to defeat 23 other teams through making a pair of team alliances with other districts in the early rounds of overall competition. With the best two-out-of-three-match style competition, City Charter aligned with Liberty Twp., Ohio and Bronx. N.Y., defeated Middletown, Del.; Garrett City, MD and Morristown, IN. by winning the first and third rounds of the match finals. The game "AIM HIGH" is a two-minute, 10-second match executed on a designated playing field. There are four periods to each match. Each period - automated, defensive, fully engaged and offensive-is a strictly choreographed component of competition utilizing each team?s computer skills, teamwork skills and strategic movements on the field of play. Points are awarded according to the number of goals each team executes and how during each period. City Charter's strategy, programming and teamwork topped the charts. Thus, moving them on to the championships.

Their victory reflects the road another local district took to last year's Championship. McKeesport Area School District entered and won the FIRST Robotics Pittsburgh Regional Competition also as a rookie. This year the McKeesport team, which was plagued with technical difficulties, was eliminated in the quarterfinals of competition.

David Richardson of FIRST Robotics has urged people to think beyond students "tinkering" with electronics. "These kids have a love of science and computers. They are learning to utilize their skills in a much different environment - a real-life setting not a theoretical classroom - and they are they are having fun doing it. I just love that!"

FIRST is celebrating 15 years of competition with more than 28,000 high school students and 15,000 mentors participating this year totaling 1,133 teams from 49 states, four provinces and seven countries. All the FIRST students are focused on the future of technology by having the interest, talent, ingenuity and passion to be the next generation of engineers and scientists.

Two more regional competitions are scheduled before the April 27 Championship. Those regional winners and the winners from the 31 other regional match-ups will funnel to Atlanta. There, 340 individual teams will foster alliances and compete again for the title.

To learn more about FIRST Robotics Competition, its suppliers, contributors and partners and the "AIM HIGH" game, log on to www.usfirst.org or contact David Richardson at the FIRST Robotics Pittsburgh Region at 412-352-3227.

FIRST

FIRST was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Human Transporter. FIRST operates the FIRST Robotics Competition in which teams of high school students, sponsored and assisted by local companies and volunteers, design, assemble, and test a robot capable of performing a specified task in competition with other teams. FIRST also runs the FIRST Lego League, for children 9-14 years old, and FIRST PLACE, an innovative science and technology center, including a hands-on children's science museum.

FIRST was founded on partnerships with businesses, educational institutions and government. Many Fortune 500 companies provide funding, in-kind donations and volunteers to support the program.

The key to FIRST's success is the work of over 25,000 volunteer mentors, professional engineers, teachers, and other adults working with students across the country. In addition to the thousands of volunteer team mentors, FIRST competitions and other events were organized and staffed by over 14,000 event and committee volunteers. Through these volunteers, FIRST programs engaged over 70,000 young people during the last year. FIRST programs are growing rapidly in the United States and Canada, and demand is accelerating in other countries.

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