Tunstall High School’s robotics team recently earned state recognition.
The Trojans competed throughout the season against other teams as part of FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — Chesapeake, a program that uses robots to bring STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — education programs to students in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Tunstall was named the highest ranking team, and for its season record, they advanced to the FIRST Chesapeake State Championship during the weekend of May 21 at the Hampton Coliseum.
At the state championship, the Trojans team was named the 2021-22 FIRST Chesapeake Norfolk Qualifier Alliance Finalist.
Jessica Jones, Tunstall High School agricultural education teacher and coach for the team, was named a 2021-22 FIRST Chesapeake State Compass Award recipient. The award recognizes an adult coach or mentor who has given “outstanding guidance and support to a team throughout the year and demonstrates to the team what it means to be a gracious professional.”
When not in competition, the team met daily to design and market their team brand, perform community outreach and work with mentors to develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles.
“FIRST is an amazing way to spread the joys of STEM with my fellow students,” said Justin Motte, vice president and lead programmer for the Tunstall team.
For the season, the local team also earned other accolades including fourth place in game play. For game play, teams were challenged to design, build, program and operate their robot to play a floor game in an alliance format.
The Tunstall team earned a third-place Think Award. The award is given to the team that best reflects the journey of the engineering process.
Tunstall also placed second for the Innovate Award. That’s sponsored by Raytheon Technologies to celebrate a team that has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life. Elements of this award included elegant design and out-of-the box thinking. The engineering portfolio submitted by the team must include examples of the team’s engineering content that illustrated how the team arrived at their design solution.
During the state championship, FIRST announced its 2022-23 energy-themed season in a video narrated by Laurence Fishburne. The Tunstall High robotics team participated in the release of FIRST ENERGIZESM presented by Qualcomm.
“FIRST is the foundation of my career,” said Patrick Jones, president, lead builder and driver for the Tunstall team. “Hard work does in fact pay off and no matter what the outcome is, always show sportsmanship to the other team — win or lose.”
For more information, visit www.firstinspires.org.