With the money raised ($10,000) with help from Palisades Honorary Mayor Eugene Levy, the Palisades Rotary had voted to give about $1,500 to fund two VEXIQ competition kits for the newly formed Paul Revere Middle School Robotics team. Founders were awarded a check in October at a Rotary luncheon.
The club’s founder Sarah Wood, and the parent of a Revere seventh grader, updated the club on January 27 about the teams’ success.
League finals were held at Fairfax High School on January 23, with 24 teams and 15 schools competing.
“All three of Paul Revere Middle School’s rookie robotics teams qualified for the 2023 Southern California VEX IQ Middle School State Championship while competing in the LAUSD West VEX IQ League,” Wood said.
One Revere team received the Design Award and placed third overall. Team members are Daniel Fridman, Lincoln Fiorello, Oliver O’Donnell and Joshua Cole Wood.
A second team tied for third and members are Nolyn Grey, Eugene Herzog, Taj Khan, Chris Kindle and Matthew Ojeda.
The final Revere team received the Excellence Award and the Teamwork Challenge Award and placed second overall. Members include Felix Aison, Noah Benharash, Slater Copen, Hunter McKelheer, Alessandro Prilusky and Nicholas Yates.
At a January 29 competition, the three teams faced challenges at a competition at James Monroe High School. There were 33 public and private schools that participated, but “we have a lot of work ahead of us before the state championship tournament in Chatsworth (March 11) or in East LA (March 5),” Wood said.
This was the first year for Revere’s program and in order to qualify, teams had to attend three meets. Money needed to be raised by parents, not only to purchase kits ($649), but also for competition fees.
There was no money to hire coaches, so two parents Danny Moghnie and Joe McKelheer, volunteered to assist Wood.
Mognie has a master’s degree in computer engineering and a master’s degree in software engineering.
“We have this idea that programming in particular and technology is a solo endeavor,” Mognie said. “STEM is a team endeavor and communicating your ideas as well as collaborating with others to achieve a common goal is essential for any meaningful problem in the field. A club where kids are first taught to cooperate, divide tasks and resolve conflicts is an essential skill.”
Wow! Congratulations to the 3 outstanding teams and the coaches. Not only did you do a great job but you did it your first time out! Enjoy State. We’re all pulling for you!