Carson City LEGO team has triumphant Homecoming after second place finish | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City LEGO team has triumphant Homecoming after second place finish

Nevada Appeal staff report

After achieving second place against 30 other countries for Robotics Design in Programming at the University of Bath, U.K., Eagle Valley Middle School's FIRST LEGO League team is preparing to pass the torch to incoming students.

Consisting of six students, The Jedi Engineers competed June 21-25 in Bath for project presentation, technical design, core values, and robot performance in their LEGO-operated robot associated with For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology (FIRST) program. This level of competition involves students ages 9-14.

Although China came in first place, The Jedi Engineers represented the United States with their second place finish.

However, five of those team members are off to high school and have agreed to mentor incoming EVMS students interested in starting a new team, along with their coaches Lisa Stocke-Koop, Eric Fancher, and Jason Koop.

Jedi Engineer Kai Miller is the only member going into eighth grade and was chosen by the team to lead new students.

For new prospects, the project of focus will be hydro-dynamics, experimenting with solutions for treating water.

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"A lot of people want to join this year," Miller said. "But I think they're just joining to go to places. I have to step in their game and make them realize this league requires a lot of team work and commitment. That's going to be the challenge."

The league has done extensive traveling in one school year; it competed in the World Festival in Houston in April, taking third place for Core Values, on top of its return from Bath.

Core Values promotes teamwork.

But it wasn't an easy journey, as the team sacrificed weekends for six months with practice and fundraising.

The efforts were also made possible by competing in the Northern Nevada FIRST LEGO League event earlier this year, placing first.

Thanks to numerous local sponsors, individuals, and businesses, the league was able to raise money for not only their trips, but a major project required to incorporate in FIRST competitions.

The theme for this year's competition was Animal Allies, challenging teams to invent a tool to enhance relationships and interactions between humans and animals. The Jedi Engineers came up with a solution to overcrowding in no-kill shelters and presented to experts in the animal care and manufacturing businesses prior to competition.

They were able to raise in excess of $35,000 thanks to the support of local businesses and multiple fundraisers. With that, the Western Manufacturing Alliance deemed the Jedi Engineers as their first junior partnership and helped them advance in their Animal Allies project.

Along with Miller and coaches, The Jedi Engineers are made up of Ryan Cooley, Cash Farnworth, Bryar Fancher, Emmanuel Alvarez, and Nevan McIlwee.

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