FIRST® Tech Challenge ROVER RUCKUS Qualifying Tournaments Set to Begin on Long Island

Thursday, December 20, 2018
FTC Qualifier Release Photo

The FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge season – dubbed FIRST ROVER RUCKUS (presented by Qualcomm) – will begin on Sunday, January 6, 2019 with a Qualifying Tournament at LuHi. Four additional events will be hosted at Nassau Community College and Sewanhaka High School in the weeks to follow. Presented locally by School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI), FIRST® Tech Challenge inspires students age 12 to 18 to pursue an interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Working alongside adult mentors, more than 69,000 students in approximately 27 countries have spent the last several months designing, building, programming and operating robots to play a floor game in an alliance format on a 12-foot-by-12-foot field. The object of the game is to obtain a higher score than the opposing alliance by having the team’s robot descend from the Lander, collect Minerals from the Crater, sort and score Minerals into the Cargo Hold of the Lander, perform Autonomous tasks and navigate to specific parts of the Playing Field.

Students demonstrate their problem-solving skills, creative thinking, teamwork, competitive play, sportsmanship and sense of community. During all FIRST Tech Challenge tournaments, teams work to score points, awarded through accomplishing the tasks, during 150 seconds of game play, which includes autonomous and driver-controlled periods.

Students, coaches, mentors and sponsors are very excited for this season because 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the SBPLI Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. While this is only FIRST Tech Challenge’s third year on Long Island, it has already grown into such a successful program because of the experience FIRST Long Island volunteers, coaches, mentors and sponsors have had with the SBPLI Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition over the past 20 years. There will be special guests and surprises at these events throughout the 2019 FIRST season in all its programs to celebrate this milestone and highlight the history of FIRST Long Island and its lasting impact.

The 2019 FIRST Tech Challenge Long Island Qualifiers will be held as follows:

  • Sunday, January 6, 2019 at LuHi, 131 Brookville Rd, Glen Head, NY 11545
  • Saturday-Sunday, January 12-13, 2019 at Nassau Community College, 1 Education Dr, Garden City, NY 11530
  • Saturday-Sunday, February 9-10, 2019 at Sewanhaka High School, 500 Tulip Ave, Floral Park, NY 11001 

Awards that will be given during each tournament include:

  • Inspire Award: given to the team that best exemplifies the spirit of FIRST Tech Challenge
  • Think Award: given to the team that best manages the engineering design process
  • Connect Award: given to the team most connected to the local and engineering communities
  • Rockwell Collins Innovate Award: given to the team with the most ingenuity and inventiveness
  • Design Award: given to the team with the most compelling industrial design elements
  • Motivate Award: given to the team acts as Ambassadors for FIRST; exemplifies outstanding outreach/recruitment efforts
  • Control Award: given to the team that uses sensors and software to enhance the robot’s functionality on the field
  • Winning Alliance Award: given to the alliance that wins the final elimination rounds
  • Finalist Alliance Award: given to the alliance in the final match of the competition

Students will compete at these events for a chance to ultimately advance to the FIRST Long Island Championship presented by SBPLI at Syosset High School on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Three teams from the FIRST Long Island Championship will advance to the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship in April.

Over the years, FIRST students from Long Island have received millions of dollars in scholarships for higher education. This year, there are 200 scholarship providers who will give students participating in FIRST access to $80 million worth of scholarships.

“We introduced FIRST Tech Challenge to Long Island three years ago and it has grown into a powerful program for students. We are excited to see what the teams have come up with,” says Robert Stephenson, FIRST Tech Challenge Program Co-Director, SBPLI.

“We are grateful to all of the high schools that are working with us to present FIRST Tech Challenge events and to showcase our local STEM talent. We look forward to continued partnerships with these districts,” says Amanda Stephenson, FIRST Tech Challenge Program Co-Director, SBPLI.

For more information on SBPLI or the FIRST Long Island robotics, please visit www.sbpli-lifirst.org.

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About FIRST®

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $30 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST®, go to www.firstinspires.org.

About School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc.

School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI) DBA FIRST® Long Island is a fully volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1984 by Fred Breithut with the goal of developing partnerships between local high schools and businesses. His goal was to provide students with practical experience and curriculum development, while helping the business community develop its future workforce, which resulted in the formation of over 100 partnerships. In 1999, SBPLI brought the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to Long Island, which featured just eight FIRST Robotics Competition high school teams. Since then, the Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition has grown to two events with over 80 teams competing each year. SBPLI also hosts Long Island’s annual FIRST LEGO League Qualifying and Championship Tournaments and the FIRST LEGO League Junior Expos, in which over 2,000 elementary and middle school students from Nassau and Suffolk Counties take part each year. In 2016, SBPLI added the FIRST Tech Challenge to its roster of programs. For more information about the programs, or to learn how to become a sponsor, visit www.sbpli-lifirst.org.