The Bridgehampton School rookie robotics team brought home a trophy this weekend after making it to finals in their division at the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship in St. Louis, Missouri.
Team 5659, or Team Supreme, faced a rough start on Friday, ranking just 61st out of 76 teams after the first round of competition. But on Saturday, the day of the finals, a team from Oregon called “Shock Wave” selected Bridgehampton and two other teams to form an alliance with during the quarterfinals and moving forward, Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz, one of the faculty advisers for Bridgehampton, wrote in an email.
“Apparently, Team 4488 [from Oregon] loved our robot—it is lightweight, extremely sturdy, well-built and fast, and our drivers are good,” Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz explained. “They thought it was the perfect robot to ‘cheesecake.’”
“Cheesecake,” as it turns out, refers to adapting a robot so that it can perform a specific task. Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz said the Oregon team installed a long hook that could strategically grab recycling containers, as the theme of the competition was Recycle Rush, where teams had to stack containers and recycling bins to garner points. Bridgehampton’s alliance placed first in the quarterfinals, and then advanced to semifinals, only to place first then as well.
In the finals, however, teams had to win two out of three matches, and the alliance lost the third match by a couple of points, due to losing a critical recycling container.
The Westhampton Beach High School robotics team, known as PRIDE, also competed in St. Louis over the weekend and finished 33rd of the 76 teams in the division. PRIDE had placed first in a regional robotics competition at Hofstra University late last month. “The kids had a great time and represented our school and the Westhampton Beach community,” that district’s superintendent, Michael Radday, said.
Team Supreme’s journey to St. Louis was possible after the team raised nearly $15,000 to cover travel, lodging and registration expenses, thanks to donations from family and staff, a GoFundMe campaign, and $11,000 the district set aside from a Paddlers for Humanity grant and a field trip fund.
“All in all, it was more than we could ever have hoped for. Simply an amazing experience,” Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz wrote. “Bridgehampton, the little engine that can, made it into the divisional finals and won a trophy. We thought we were done with the whole competition when we woke up on Saturday morning. It was simply amazing.”
Bridgehampton Superintendent Dr. Lois Favre commended the team, Ms. Carmack-Fayyaz, and Team Supreme’s two other faculty advisers, teachers Ken Giosi and Helen Wolfe, for their dedication and passion.
“The staff and students spent long days and nights assuring that they brought their very best to St. Louis, and coming home with a trophy far surpassed any of our dreams for this competition,” Dr. Favre said. “The community and the school rallied around Team Supreme! Wonderful and amazing things happen when we all work together for our students—and this is certainly one shining example.”