Robotics team wows judges

This photo shows the Westside Elementary School Robotics team members as they present at the state tournament. Pictured, in no particular order, are fifth-graders Emmie Atkins, Jayden Barrera, Kyler Kindall, Alekx Henderson and Rayna Schiffhauer; and fourth-graders Ellie Barrera and Hailey Jordan. The team won the Judges’ Award for Leadership at the FIRST Lego League South Idaho Championships on Feb. 15

PAYETTE - While many kids play with Legos for fun, others are using them to illustrate their hopes and dreams for their community; The Westside Elementary School Robotics team went to the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Lego League, South Idaho Championship held at Canyon Ridge High School in Twin Falls on Feb. 15. 

According to Title I Assistant Jennifer Macklin, who coaches the Robotics team, the kids made a big impression on the judges.

“December 7th 2019 the Westside Robotics team won the Innovation award for their qualifier. This means [throughout] their regional qualifier for the State Championship, their project idea was the strongest,” according to Macklin.

The Westside team has been tackling the issue of vacant buildings in Payette, coming up with a concept for a homeless resident home they titled “Pirates’ Cove.”

This qualifier secured Westside’s spot in the South Idaho Championship.

“This past weekend the team completed against forty-one other teams,” said Macklin. “They impressed every judge they presented in front of and although they are a young team compared to most at the tournament, they won the judge’s award for leadership and gracious professionalism.” 

Macklin also noted the judges’ enthusiasm for the project’s potential.

“They [the judges] joked, ‘They are the future bosses, call us when they are hiring.’”

The University of Idaho coordinates Lego League events, tracks teams’ progress  and is an active participant in the events, ordering trophies, pins, medals for award winners, according to Macklin.

The team also presented this concept to the Payette City Council in November of 2019.

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