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Laingsburg FIRST Robotics Team Honors Top Students

Laingsburg Robotics Team Celebrates Season

Photo: Laingsburg High's Red Thunder Robotics Awardees (L to R): Paul Garrett, Mentor and LHS Teacher; Hailey Mohney, Chairman's Award; Leo Doyle, Most Improved Student; Chris Walker, Rookie All-Star; Grace Honkanen, Spirit Award; Tyler Sieben, Engineering Award; Tyler Brunette, Commitment Award; Brady Hawks, Jack-of-All-Trades Award; Liam Lange, Spirit Award; Chris Freels, Commitment Award; Claire Sanderlin, Rookie Inspiration (Freshman)/Courtesy

Laingsburg High School's FIRST Red Thunder Robotics competitive team held its annual awards night recently to celebrate its recent accomplishments and recognize several outstanding team members.

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Taking home awards were:

Hailey Mohney, Senior and Team Captain: Chairman’s Award
Leo Doyle, Sophomore: Most Improved Student
Chris Walker, Senior: Rookie All-Star
Grace Honkanen, Senior: Spirit Award
Tyler Sieben, Senior: Engineering Award
Tyler Brunette, Junior: Commitment Award
Brady Hawks, Junior: Jack-of-All-Trades
Liam Lange, Sophomore: Spirit Award
Chris Freels, Junior: Commitment Award
Claire Sanderlin, Freshman: Rookie Inspiration 

In only its second year, Red Thunder finished eighth out of 40 teams at its regional competition in April, received the Excellence in Engineering Award above all the other teams at that competition, and earned the opportunity to be an alliance captain when it got to the quarter-final round.

Last year they received the Rookie All-Star Award from their peer FIRST teams.

“I’m so incredibly proud of these kids. They’ve worked so hard for months to learn real-world skills in a variety of technical and non-technical areas so we could be this successful in only our second year in the FIRST program,” exclaimed Paul Garrett, Red Thunder Robotics Mentor and LHS physics and robotics teacher.
FIRST Robotics – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – combines the excitement of sports with the rigors of science and technology. It’s called the “ultimate sport for the mind,” according to the international organization’s website. High school student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.” Under strict rules, limited resources and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team brand, hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-sized robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors.

Being in FIRST Robotics isn’t cheap, explains Garrett. This year the team was generously supported with in-kind and financial donations from AIS, SLH Metals, Tri-Mer Corp., Westaff, Cook Family Foundation, Laingsburg Lion's Club, Laingsburg Educational Advancement Foundation, private donors and the former Laingsburg Youth Tackle Football Program (donated trailer and unused funds). Red Thunder is among the last of the Shiawassee County school districts to have a FIRST team.

The team is starting its fundraising again. Its budget for the 2019-20 season is approximately $43,000, assuming it makes it to state and world competitions. The world competition will be held in Detroit at Cobo Hall.

To learn more about how you can support Red Thunder Robotics, contact Garrett at 947-517-3001 or paul.garrett@laingsburg.k12.mi.us.

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