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Black Teens Win FIRST Robotics World Championship

By Victor Trammell

A team of predominantly black students (three pictured above) from Cleveland, Ohio have just made history by winning the 25th annual FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship.

The students are attendants at Cuyahoga Community College’s Youth Technology Academy in Cleveland. The FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship is an engineering showcase that happens every year in St. Louis, Missouri.

This year, the event attracted 20,000 young contestants who came from countries all across the globe. The event lasts for four days. On the first day of the event this year, 40,000 people watched as the tens of thousands of the world’s brightest young engineers competed at the championship.

The team that won this year was the Tri-C team. They consisted of two-dozen students from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. They are the first team from Ohio to ever win the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship.

“This was a phenomenal ending to a fantastic robotics season,” said George Bilokonsky, executive director of Tri-C’s Youth Technology Academy in a statement. “We are extraordinarily proud and truly inspired by these bright and talented students who worked so hard to triumph,” he continued.

The team went through 18 competitive matches before finally advancing at the championship tournament. Prior to winning the world championship, the Tri-C team competed in regional tournaments in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Palmetto, South Carolina.

The Tri-C team was sponsored by the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. A NASA engineer named  Larry Oberle worked closely with the team as they built their winning robot. Oberle has been involved with helping teams prepare for the  FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship for 14 years.

This is how the FIRST compeition works. Teams of students work under the guidance of professional mentors like Oberle to design and assemble a robot in order to compete in the tournament. This preparation period lasts for six weeks. The robots vary in shapes and sizes and can be as tall as 4′ 6″.

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25 thoughts on “Black Teens Win FIRST Robotics World Championship

  1. Sandi

    Congratulations Kings and Queens you have more potential inside you keep striving to be the best of the best…

  2. Anett

    Congratulations to all of you for winning. This monumental moment will be shared by myself and countless others so your name and faces will be known all over the world. You will be giving hope and inspiration to other young African American kids, showing them that science and robotics competitions are interesting and can be won by someone like themselves. Thank you for being the first and paving the way for other great minds like yourself. CONGRATULATIONS!!

  3. Marian

    Awesome job! Life is your oyster. Keep God first always, stay focused and continue to exel. Remember to help others along the way. Bravo!

  4. Dora Callahan

    I am so proud of these students. I used to volunteer at.FIRST competitions when they were held at the VCU Siegel center in Richmond VA. I would see students from different schools throughout the region and a few from other countries, but our minority students were really in a minority. You can see they put their hearts into their projects. But now to see our minority students win top honors, it makes my heart rejoice. Let’s put students like these on the news and front page of the newspaper instead of the all the negativity.

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    • Paula

      Huh? It’s very real. My child was a part of the FIRST robotics competition, and I attended the district and state events with him. It is definitely real. Congratulations to the winning team! Awesome job!

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  14. Clifton Moody

    The sky is the limit, let no man dictate what you can or can’t do. God said all my children has a purpose, you just found yours. Continue to be the BEST

  15. Michelle Elliott

    Congratulations! It’s great to see young people pushing science and engineering to new levels. The future is counting on you!

  16. Carol Draper

    Great job! Well done! Could the press highlight these accomplishments, rather than all the negatives that we are being choked with?
    Congratulations again young people!

  17. barrington Morrison

    What an eventful period is this, I’m glad that I have lived to see it. Our African American youngsters were able to overcome the adversities invoked by racism and did not allow its destructiveness to unduly influence their destiny.
    The diverse creative qualities of these young Black women and men will advance the progress of STEM which has been made, broad, deep, and without intermission by their ancestors.


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