Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hello Manhattan Qualifier Event Organizers,

I hardly have time to write this e-mail as after a tournament week I am knee deep in report cards - but the hard work that was put into pulling off this event warrants it.

What an event! My team and parents are still buzzing over it. The location was perfect. It is easily accessible by car and public transportation, and you can find on street parking! Having the pit and tournament tables in the same room is a great way to have the children interact with other teams and view their progress, and the cuers could more easily announce and find the teams. The research and technical presentations locations were also perfect, and the coordination of the day appeared seamless. Plus the Great Hall itself is simply breathtaking! It was a truly magical "Hogwarts" experience. :)

In terms of lunch for the kids, we were able to access free WIFI at the event and Googled a pizza place that delivered.

I brought three teams from my school (a first) and was very nervous on how I would corral and maintain nearly 30 children from across the grade and age spectrum (3rd - 7th grade). The location helped that immensely. We are from Brooklyn and originally registered for this event when the original December date for the Brooklyn Qualifier was a conflict. We are all glad we were able to keep our slot at this event, and if it is held at CUNY next year, we would be honored to return!

The only disappointment that came from a team member was from his technical presentation rubric. We had only one student who was brave enough to volunteer how the robot was designed, and on one point of his rubric it said something like, "Coach helped," which could not be further from the truth. He and I had a discussion about judging subjectivity (a very important lesson), and he's determined to prove at Javits that the robot is 100% student created. Thanks to Suman for handing me our rubrics, they were a great teaching tool this week!

Thank you all for making this a great experience for our team and team's families.

I have pictures posted from the event here:
and here:


Maureen Reilly
Third Grade Teacher and FLL Coach
Packer Collegiate Institute
170 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

PS: We are looking for an after-school LEGO Robotics Teacher to work with a beginner's group on Thursdays from 3:30-5:00 beginning January 29th - we have both NXT and RCX kits and we have one teacher and two high school mentors working the same day for support. Since the news of the Manhattan Qualifier, the registration for our spring program has risen and we are looking to accommodate as many students as possible. If you know anyone who may be interested have them contact me at:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kudos for Brooklyn Qualifier at NYU/Polytech

Dear Norm,

I just wanted to let you know what a great time our teams had at
Saturday's tournament at Polytech. Once again, I am amazed by the
professionalism and camaraderie of everyone involved in FLL -
organizers, volunteers, high school and college kids, coaches, and,
especially, team members. Polytech did an outstanding job of hosting
the event and the venue was perfect. Winning a trophy was just the
icing on the cake for us.

Please extend our thanks to everyone involved. Now it's on to the Javits Center!

Vicki Holland
Teams 1462 and 1463
PS 372K

Hey Norm!

Thanks for another great event today! Our kids (and parents) had a blast! They can't wait to do it again (next year?) I was wondering, do you think there will be any other events for teams that didn't make it to the city-wide championships? Ones that we could organize on our own? We are planning to discuss doing an Expo for our school with the kids sometime in Feb. maybe after the break...but then in the spring...I think they'd really like another chance to compete after taking what they learned from the competition and practicing some more... Do you think this is feasible or possible? Thanks again for all your hard work and commitment to the Robotics Program citywide! It really is impressive how the numbers have grown! (And such a great thing for the kids...and teachers!)

Tracey :)

Kudos for the Manhattan Qualifier at CCNY

MANY, Many thanks to LAESA -SHPE Chapter at City College of NY for their excellent leadership at the 2008 FLL Manhattan Qualifier Tournament held at the Great Hall on Saturday, January 10th! In spite of freezing and snowy weather, the CCNY team accomplished a well attended, terrific Qualifier event! This was a
particularly remarkable achievement given that this is the first time an FLL Manhattan Qualifier tournament is held at this venue! Kudos and thanks to Stuyve Pulse, FRC Team #694 for their significant contribution in making this event a success!

Thanks Mark Sharfshteyn and Liz Almonte for your skillful guidance in running this event. Along with the Jr. FLL Expo wonderfully executed with the support of Keith Wynn, this FIRST celebration at the Great Hall amounted to a true mini festival celebrating our youngsters’ efforts with science and technology in upper Manhattan! Comments from parents and teachers do not cease to commend the new venue, the high quality of the event, the efficiency and friendliness of all volunteers!

Below is Keith Wynn’s excellent analysis of the day's outcome!

None of this would have happened without you.. On behalf of NYC /NJ FIRST, thanks again for giving so much of you for the sake of a better future for our kids and community.


Ana L. Martinez

Randy Schaeffer

FIRST Regional Directors

From: Keith Wynne
Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2009 4:59 PM
To: LAESA SHPE; Sharfshteyn, Mark; Randy Schaeffer; Elizabeth Almonte;
Elizabeth Vilchis
Subject: It All Paid Off! Some key analysis of today's events!

Dear Elizabeth V, Elizabeth A, Mark, and Randy,

Congratulations on pulling off another great venue this season!
The FLL Tournament was fantastic. Even though I was busy running the
JrFLL Expo. Everything I saw clearly indicated that the children,
coaches and parents were having a fantastic experience! Whatever
challenges we faced in putting things off in inclement weather, we
overcame and none of the parents, children, or visitors would have
even been aware of it!

Thanks for all of your hard work, cooperation, collaboration and
support! Today Jr.FLL welcomed 9 teams from seven different schools
or programs. The 2 of the teams were repeaters from last year.

Two schools had teams of more than 6 children so they created two
presentations and two models! Three of the programs were from
community based organizations or home-schooled children. One of
the schools also had a team participating in FLL via Staten Island
borough qualifier. (same teacher) Our schools came from Staten
Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Yonkers, and Bergen County,

The children were ages 6-9 in grade 1,2, and 3. The smallest
team had 2 members and the largest teams had 6. Three of the 26
FLL teams participating came to visit the JrFLL Expo. Thanks to the
Little Red Schoolhouse, Packer Collegiate, and

I heard comments ranging from, "This was the best experience I have
ever had!", "I had so much fun today!" "The event was really well
organized.." "The event was really well planned!." "I loved the way
the kids were able to see both events taking place and participate in
the opening ceremonies." All of the teams were invited to join us at
the upcoming EXPO at Javits. Many already said they would be there.
I told them I'd be in touch with them mid-February... The joint
opening ceremonies as well as time for the children to go across and
observe the actual event really helped solidify the true meaning,
mission and values of FIRST for all who attended. The young children
were so excited to stand on the stage in front of everyone and have
their school recognized!!!

The time for the children to observe during our judging also
accomplished our goal of showing the children what they had to look
forward to as they grow up!

I made some great technology and engineering connections for the
students at my school. Met a producer at NBC TV on my way up to the
tournament. She asked me about the photos I had taken as I was
reviewing them on my camera in the subway! Also one of the volunteer
judges David works for ASME. He wanted to help further promote
interest in engineering and may be coming to visit P.S. 58 during
Engineer's Week/Month in February.

What a fantastic day capping off an amazing weekend full of
adrenaline, sleep deprivation, and incredible energy, love and support
from the entire FIRST Community!
Way to go:)

I'm off to get some rest. Take care, and I'll catch up with you
all at the next planning committee meeting!

All the best,

Monday, January 12, 2009

Manhattan Qualifying at CCNY - Jan. 11

Champions Award
1st Place Team# 7177 LREI Knights
2nd Place Team# 363 Think Robot

1st Place Team#: 1730 Trevor Day School Little Dragons
2nd Place Team# 1910 MS 328 Robotigers
3rd Place Team# 1775 Packer Collegiate Institute

Judges Award
Team# 6425 Fredrick Douglas School Lego Raiders.

1st Place Team# 3057 PS/MS 108 Manhattan Time 4 Change
2nd Place Team# 425 Columbia Secondary School Robocubs

Robot Design
1st Place Team# 7836 The Gateway Schools The Weather Savers
2nd Place Team# 7175 LREI Rookies
3rd Place Team# 6528 PS 123M Mahalia Jackson

Robot Performance
1st Place Team# 363 Think Robot
2nd Place Team# 1730 Trevor Day School Little Dragons
3rd Place Team# 1910 MS 328 Robotigers

Teams that did not get an award but that have been invited to compete at the FLL Citywide March 7th Event are:

Team# 5624 The Anderson School PS 334 AMS Dragons
Team# 5496 The Brearley School
Team# 6426 Fredrick Douglas School Lego Radaz.

Brooklyn Qualifier Results - Jan. 10 at NYU/Polytechnic

Champion Award
Team # 1925 IS 318
Runner Up
Team # 1463 PS 372K

Team # 1462 PS 372K

Robot Design
1st Place Team #490 St. Edumund Elementary School
2nd Place Team #3958 MS 267K
3rd Place Team #3475 Arthur S. Somers Middle School

1st Place Team 5762 MS 51K
2nd Place Team 1979 PS 58 The Carroll School
3rd Place Team 1827 PS 193 The Gil Hodges School

1st Place Team #1925 IS 318
2nd Place Team # 3076 Benjamin Banneker Academy K
3rd Place Team #3575 PS 233K Langston Hughes

Judges Award
Team 3575 PS 233K Langston Hughes

Teams that didn't get an award but have been invited to compete at the FLL Citywide at Javits on March 7th.
2707 PS 21K Crispus Attucks School
2393 PS 11K
3951 PS 399K PS 399 K Stanley Eugene Clarke

Summer Program at NYU/Polytechnic U for Teachers

Click on photos to enlarge

Hello Everyone:

I am writing to inform you that under an NSF grant, this summer we will be offering a Research Experience for Teachers program in Mechatronics. As detailed in the enclosed flier, this is a paid research opportunity. Kindly pass this along to qualified high-school and middle-school teachers and encourage them to apply.

Thank you for your time and effort.

Prof. Vikram Kapila

Thursday, January 08, 2009

New York City FIRST LEGO League Championship will be held on Saturday, March 7th at the Jacob Javits Convention Center

January 7, 2009

Dear Friends of New York City FIRST:

Current economic conditions are presenting non-profits across the City with a very real challenge – How to continue to provide the highest quality programs and experiences for kids within the context of uncertain or declining financial resources.

New York City FIRST is no exception. Consequently we must make adjustments in our 2008-2009 programming in order to cope with these changing economic conditions.

The New York City FIRST planning committees for FRC, FTC, and FLL put a lot of careful thought into how we could reduce costs without significantly impacting the quality of the FIRST experience for kids across the City.

As a result of these deliberations, the following changes are being made in our 2009 competition season:

• The 2009 New York City FIRST LEGO League Championship will be held on Saturday, March 7th at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. This event had previously been scheduled to take place at Riverbank State Park on January 31st.

• The New York City FIRST Tech Challenge Championship will be held on Sunday, March 8th also at the Javits Center. In addition, a tournament registration fee of $200 will be established for teams which compete at this event.

• The 2009 New York City FIRST Robotics Competition and the third annual New York City FIRST Science and Technology Career Expo will again take place, as planned, March 6th – 8th at the Javits Center.

We realize that these changes create challenges for everyone – teachers, parents, and FIRST volunteers. But I hope everyone will understand that we make these changes out of necessity in order to reduce costs and make more efficient use of available resources.

Challenges often present new opportunities. As a result of consolidating events at Javits, thousands of kids of all ages will come together under one roof to be part of New York City’s celebration of science and technology. The excitement, “cross-generational” inspiration, and energy will be unprecedented.

If you have questions or concerns regarding these changes, please be in touch with me at

Thank you for your continuing support of New York City FIRST and our efforts to help young New Yorkers acquire the knowledge and skills they will need if they are to successfully compete in the technologically-driven global economy.

Very best regards,

Randy Schaeffer
FIRST Regional Director

Executive Advisory Board:

Honorary Co-chairs:

Jack Hennessy, Chairman & CEO
Credit Suisse First Boston (retired)

John Whitehead, Chairman
The Goldman Sachs Foundation


Michael Dubno, Chief Technology Officer, Goldman Sachs (retired)

Josh Weston, Honorary Chairman ADP

Other members:

Dr. Robert A. Altenkirch, President
New Jersey Institute of Technology

Kevin Burke, Chairman & CEO
Con Edison

Cosema E. Crawford, Senior Vice President & Chief Engineer
MTA NYC Transit

Dr. Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor City University of New York

Jerry M. Hultin, President
Polytechnic Institute of NYU

Senator Bob Kerrey
President, New School University

Ralph LaRossa
President and COO, Public Service Electric and Gas Company

Francis J. Lombardi, Chief Engineer
Port Authority of NY & NJ

Sheri S. McCoy, Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals Group
Johnson & Johnson

Dr. Thomas Metcalf, Vice President
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Dr. Harold J. Raveche, President
Stevens Institute of Technology

Tami Rosen, Managing Director
Goldman Sachs

Dr. Gregory H. Williams, President
City College of New York

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

MANHATTAN QUALIFIER: Sunday, January 11, 2009

Time: 9:00AM-3:00PM

***Teams will begin to set up at 9:00AM SHARP! ***

***Please make sure you are on time***

Location: The Great Hall, Shepard Hall

The City College of New York

140th Street and Convent Avenue

New York, N.Y. 10031


By Train
IRT #1 or #9 local to 137th Street and Broadway; walk up 138th Street three blocks to Convent Avenue.

IND "A" or"D" express, or the "B" or "C" local to 145th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, walk west one block to 145th Street and Convent Avenue, then south to 138th Street.

IRT #4 or#5 express or #6 local to 125th Street and Lexington Avenue, changethere for the M-100 or M-101 bus to Amsterdam Avenue and 138th Street,walk east one block to Convent Avenue. Metro North to 125th Street andPark Avenue, change there for the M-100 or M-101 bus to AmsterdamAvenue and 138th Street, walk east one block to Convent Avenue.
Note: City College operates shuttle buses between the campus and the137th Street (Broadway) and 145th Street (St. Nicholas) subway stations.

By Bus
M-18 to 138th Street and Convent Avenue.

M-4 or M-5 to Broadway and 137th Street, walk up 138th Street three blocks to Convent Avenue.

M-100 or M-101 to Amsterdam Avenue and 138th, walk east one block to Convent Avenue.

M-101 to 135th and Amsterdam Avenue and walk north to 138th Street, then east one block to Convent Avenue.

BX-19 to 145th and Convent Avenue, walk south on Convent Avenue to 138th Street.

By Car
From the West Side: Westside Highway travelling north, exit at 125th Street, right to Amsterdam Avenue; left to 133rd Street right one block to Convent Avenue.

From the Westside Highway traveling north or south: Exit at 125th Street, cross Broadway, one block; left onto Amsterdam Avenue; right onto 133rd Street one block; left onto Convent Avenue.

From the East Side: From the FDR or the Triborough Bridge to Harlem River Drive, exit at 135th Street to end, turn right on St. Nicholas Avenue, then left onto 141st Street, make left on Convent Avenue to campus.


(copy and paste onto browser or it will not direct you to the page)


Elizabeth Vilchis

(914) 803-5342

Francisco Amarante

(646) 209-0790

Gerome Cabrera

(646) 461-0944

Thank you for your time and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Morris FIRST Robotics Team to Celebrate 10th year

Posted by Gary Israel

Happy New Year Alumni and Friends,

This is a very exciting year for Morris High School FIRST Robotics as the team prepares for the 2009 FIRST Robotics season which will mark an important milestone.

As many of you know this will be our 10th year competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition and I want to take this opportunity to thank the MANY alumni, friends, and sponsors who have supported the Morris FIRST robotics team over the past nine years. The impact this robotics program has had on the Morris student's life and building their appreciation of science and technology is immeasurable.

Thanks to the support from so many caring people, Morris High School students have had the opportunity to compete in every New York City FIRST Robotics Regional since 2001. Morris team members have also traveled from the Bronx to other FIRST Robotics Competitions in Trenton, New Jersey (2000) Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, Florida (2001& 2002) Houston, Texas (2003) Richmond, Virginia (2003 & 2004), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2005,2006,2007)and Orlando, Florida (2008).

I am especially proud that the Morris team is the ONLY New York City FIRST Team to have competed in the FIRST Robotics Championships in Atlanta, Georgia for the past six consecutive years. Not even Bronx Science, Stuyvesant or Brooklyn Tech can claim that accomplishment.

For the 2009 FIRST Season, the team will once again compete in the New York City FIRST Robotics Regional at the Jacob Javits Center, March 6-8. In addition two weeks later the team will travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to compete for the first time in the Philadelphia FIRST Robotics Regional at Temple University, March 19-21.

With the continued financial support of our alumni, friends and sponsors we will have the opportunity to compete in our seventh consecutive FIRST Robotics Championships in Atlanta Georgia, April 17-19.

Please let me know if you are not already on the team's mailing list.

Warm regards,
PS. Below are the team's highlights over the past nine years

Morris Campus FIRST Robotics Team

* New Jersey FIRST Regional 2000 Judges Award
* FIRST Robotics Presidential Classroom Scholarship 2000
* NASA / FIRST Robotics Grant 2001
* NASA/ FIRST Robotics Grant 2002
* New York City FIRST 2002 Robotics Xerox Creativity
* NASA/VCU South Atlantic FIRST 2003 Robotics Regional Winner
* NASA/VCU South Atlantic FIRST 2003 Imagery Winner
* New York City FIRST 2003 Robotics Engineering and Inspiration Winner
* New York City FIRST 2004 Robotics Chairman’s Award Winner
* New York City FIRST 2004 Robotics Regional Finalist
* Pittsburgh FIRST 2005 Robotics Regional Winner
* Pittsburgh FIRST 2005 Judges Award
* Pittsburgh FIRST 2006 Robotics Regional Winner
* Pittsburgh FIRST 2006 Robotics Engineering and Inspiration Winner
* Pittsburgh FIRST 2007 Quarterfinalists
* Florida FIRST 2008 Semifinalists
* New York City FIRST 2005 Robotics Regional Winner
* New York City FIRST 2005 Judges Award
* New York City FIRST 2006 Robotics Regional Winner
* New York City FIRST 2006 Judges Award
* New York City FIRST 2007 Quarterfinalists
* New York City FIRST 2008 Semifinalists
* New York City FIRST 2008 General Motors Industrial Design Award
* New York City FIRST 2008 Outstanding Volunteer Award
* National FIRST Robotics Championship competition Houston Texas 2003
* National FIRST Robotics Championship competition Atlanta Georgia 2004
* National FIRST Robotics Championship competition Atlanta Georgia 2005
* National FIRST Robotics Championship competition Atlanta Georgia 2006
* National FIRST Robotics Championship competition Atlanta Georgia 2007
* National FIRST Robotics Championship competition Atlanta Georgia 2008
* Tribute March 17, 2003 to the Morris Robotics Team on the Floor of The House of Representatives in Washington D.C
* Bronx Borough Proclaims March 26, 2003 Morris High School Robotics Day
* Team Presented with Medal by Secretary Colin L. Powell September 2002
* Robotics Team honored on the Floor of the State Assembly in Albany 2003 & 2004
* The New York Yankees honor the Morris team on the field at Yankee Stadium 2002,2003,2004,2005,2006,2007,2008
* The New York Yankees honor the Morris team at the groundbreaking ceremony at the new Yankee Stadium August 2006
* Represented all New York City Robotics teams in the Bronx Day Parade 2003,2004,2005,2006
* Appearances at the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey 2003, 2004
* Saluted on radio as "Hometown Heroes" on WINS 1010 June, 2003

· Featured in a 2003 award winning FIRST Robotics Showtime Documentary

· Top prize at the Bronx Business & Technology Expo 2003

· Featured in a 2004 Documentary on National Cable TECH TV

* Appearance with Dean Kamen at the 2004 Annual New York Times Talk Series in Manhattan

· Appearances on Good Morning America, BronxTalk Prime Time Live, Bronx Talk AM, News 12 Bronxnet, NY 1, Fox News, Telemundo and WNBC

· Articles written about the team in New York Times, Amsterdam News, New York Daily News, Bronx Times, Richmond Times, Uptown Express, Columbia Engineering, United Federation of Teacher’s newspaper, FIRST Robotics Newsletter and Bronx Beat

· Team Captain participated in 2003 Antarctica expedition

· Team member selected to participate in 2004 Antarctica expedition

· Team featured in July 2005 article in Popular Mechanics

· Team appears on Telemundo Television program June 2006

· Team appears at Sony Wonder Technology Lab in June 2006

· Team participates at the NextFest Conference Javits Center Sept. 2006

· Team Captain participated in 2006 Antarctica expedition

· Team participates at Gagetoff at Liberty Science Center Sept. 2007

· Team appeared in 2008 Imagine it! Documentary

Queens Qualifier (Dec. 20) Results

The following teams qualified for the NYC FLL Championship (12 teams)

Champion's Award - Team Number 778 - M.S. 216 - Ryan Lions

Robot Performance 3rd Place - Team Number 1836 - I.S. 119 - Top Gearz A
Robot Performance 2nd Place - Team Number 1215 - P.S. 139 - RoboTech
Robot Performance 1st Place - Team Number 778 - M.S. 216 - Ryan Lions

Robot Design 3rd Place - Team Number 4764 - Resurrection Ascension - Titans
Robot Design 2nd Place - Team Number 1836 - I.S. 119 - Top Gearz A
Robot Design 1st Place - Team Number 232 - M.S. 67 - Globorobo

Research 3rd Place - Team Number 7417 - I.S. 227 - Lamchops A
Research 2nd Place - Team Number 3991 - I.S. 88 - Masterminds A
Research 1st Place - Team Number 7756 - I.S. 119 - Superbots

Teamwork Award - Team Number 1215 - P.S. 139 - RoboTech

Judge's Award - Team Number 7418 - I.S. 227 - Lamchops B

Qualifying Team - Team Number 275 - CCGC - Warbots
Qualifying Team - Team Number 2491 - I.S. 192 Q - Robo Fusion 192 A
Qualifying Team - Team Number 3993 - I.S. 88 - Masterminds C