Lynnwood students qualify for U.S. robotic contest

  • Tue Mar 27th, 2012 9:36pm
  • News

By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer

LYNNWOOD — The students with Lynnwood High School’s Royal Robotics team were nervous and stressed.

This was their fifth time competing at an event organized by the national nonprofit, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, which aims to encourage school-age children to pursue careers in engineering, science and math.

Last weekend, more than 90 teams had to build a robot to play basketball at Rebound Rumble, which was held at CenturyLink Events Center in Seattle.

Lynnwood’s Royal Robotics had trouble with its robots in the past, but this time, it was different. Their robot shot and made a basket. They earned sixth place at the Seattle Cascade Regional division.

“I’m feeling completely on Cloud 9,” Lynnwood High junior Sara-Beth Burkett said. “I can’t believe it.”

Besides getting its best place ever, the team also won the Engineering Inspiration Award, recognizing the team’s robot design, recruitment of students to engineering and community volunteering.

This award gave qualified the team for the national championship held between April 26 and 28, in St. Louis, Mo.

Now the 31-member team is trying to figure out how to raise enough funds for the trip. The award gives the team a trophy and medals, and it means that a $5,000 entry fee will be waived. Still, the team needs money for lodging and travel.

From sponsors and fundraisers, the Lynnwood team already has enough money to send some of its group to St. Louis, but not all, said Sara-Beth, 17.

“We really want everybody to experience the championship because all participated,” she said.

About 10 teams from Snohomish and Island counties participated in the Seattle tournament, including Henry M. Jackson, Glacier Peak, Kamiak, Edmonds-Woodway, Mountlake Terrace, Arlington, Marysville Arts and Technology, Oak Harbor, Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center, and the 4-H Youth Development program from the WSU extension. Many of those teams won a variety awards.

In total, there are about 2,500 students participating in the event from schools in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana and even from Turkey and Mexico.

Every team had six weeks to design and build a robot for a three-on-three basketball tournament. Students spent hundreds of hours designing and building their robots.

Nan Van Klaveren, mother of two members of the Lynnwood team, which is comprised mostly of Lynnwood High students as well as students from other schools in the Edmonds School District, said the team members are excited about competing at the national level and happy about their robot’s performance.

“This is really big,” she said. “They did a lot of extra work that went above and beyond of actually building the robot.”

People can help their cause by visiting the team’s website at Donations can be made to the team using their official name, Team 2522, when donating through the organizer’s website.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422;

FIRST Robotics Competition honorees

Here are some of the honors that teams throughout Snohomish and Island counties received at last week’s robotics competition:

Lynnwood High School: Engineering inspiration award.

Sno-Isle Skills Tech Center: Regional finalist award for reaching the final round.

Oak Harbor and Arlington high schools: Gracious professionalism for sportsmanship award in their respective categories.

Glacier Peak High School: Innovation in control award for their control system.

Henry M. Jackson High School: Team Spirit Award.