Aurora robotics teams advance to state tournament

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The Big Bad Brick Builders are one of three Aurora-based robotics teams advancing to the state competition on March 13. The team includes Aurora sixth graders Graham Nagy, Sameer Shah, Benjamin Keckan, Jack Trook, Brady Stenger and fifth grader Elijah Smith. They recently presented a check for pandemic-related community relief efforts. Fundraising was part of their “Core Values” mission on the multi-faceted team experience and competition.

Three Aurora-based robotics teams recently competed in district qualifiers and advanced to the state tournament, which will be held virtually March 13.

The robotics teams compete in the FIRST programs, where they prepare a project and a Lego robot during the season. More than 600,000 children participate world-wide. The program introduces students to coding and collaborative project challenges. This year's theme is "Game Changers," which focuses on making kids physically and mentally strong through sports.

The Big Bad Brick Builders, a third-year team composed of Aurora sixth graders Benjamin Keckan, Graham Nagy, Soham Shah, Brady Stenger, Jack Trook, and fifth-grader Elijah Smith are coached by Sameer Shah, Michael Keckan and Mat Smith. At the district tournament, they won the Robot Performance and Robot Design Awards. Their team project focuses on new ways to incentivize exercise through video games.

The Positive Protons, a sixth and seventh grade Harmon team won the Champions Award and Robot Performance award at the recent qualifier. Their team is composed of members Alex Jin, Jackson Sarver, Ritika Busa, Rokko Szarell, SangaMitra Venkatesh, and Santosh Akilesh Kumar. They are coached by Senthil Ragupathi and Sambooranam Kumar. Their project designed a portable humidity device to help people with lung problems breath better during outdoor exercise.

The NeonBots are a first year Leighton Elementary team composed of third graders Diya Kumar and Rohan Busa and fourth graders Aadhav Satyamurthy, Daksha Sriram, Diya Kumar, Joshua Bowen and Sarah Bowen. They are coached by Senthil Ragupathi and Sambooranam Kumar. Their team won the Core Values award and the Robot Performance Award at their qualifier. The NeonBots created an app to reward kids with emojis for being more active, and they are learning how to code mobile apps.

Finally, Harmon eighth grader Kavya Shah also qualified for the state competition on The Brain Bots, a team with students from multiple school districts coached by John Keyerleber and Michelle Minadeo. The Brain Bots won a Robot Performance and Design Award and developed a fitness band that offers rewards in video game play.