Robotics Team finishes 5th of 38 teams and wins professionalism award

Whittier's FIRST Robotics Team took home an award at its recent competition after students exemplified the spirit of the FIRST program.

Now in its sixth season, team 4929 -- the Maroon Monsoon -- competed on March 16-17 at the New England Regional Competition. There, they earned the Gracious Professionalism Award for their demonstration of FIRST core values – discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork and fun. The team also came in fifth overall out of 38 teams.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) defines Gracious Professionalism as competing like crazy, but doing it with respect and kindness. The team that wins the award blends knowledge, competition and empathy throughout the event.

Team mentor Bob Beaton credits the team earning the award after a change in strategy this year, which was centered on trusting the design process and sticking to the plan.

"It was this spirit that students personified while working in their alliances throughout the weekend that made all the difference," Beaton said. "I'm extremely proud of how everyone performed over the weekend. We've come a long way in six years, and to take home this award while also placing fifth is quite an accomplishment for students."

During the weekend-long event, students designed and built 125-pound robots and competed against each other in multiple 2 1/2 minute rounds of task-oriented games. The tasks are revealed prior to the competition, in January, and teams have six weeks to design and build their robot.

The FIRST team, which participates in two competitions each year, draws students from a variety of vocational areas, as well as freshmen. Students interested in joining the team meet once a week beginning in September and for longer hours during the six-week build season. This year, the 30-student squad collectively logged 2,339 hours during their build season.

In addition to the team’s recognition, Coach Beaton, received a nomination for the Dr. Woodie Flowers Award, which recognizes an individual who has done an outstanding job of motivating participants through communication, while also challenging students to be clear and succinct in their communications. Whittier students wrote an essay to nominate Coach Beaton earlier this year, and his nomination will be considered at the New England District Championship in late April.

Members of the Maroon Monsoon include: 

Seniors: Gregory Marshall, of Amesbury; Nik Proctor, of Salisbury; Tabitha Noyes, of Haverhill; Thomas Lessard, of Haverhill; Benjamin Gagnon, of Merrimac; Natalie Harriman, of Groveland; Nathaniel Sippel, of Haverhill; Jeremy Scanlan, of Groveland;

Zachary Sippel, of Haverhill; Nolan Turi ,of Newburyport; Keith Whittemore of Haverhill; Dylan Grandmaison, of Haverhill; Matt Davis, of Amesbury; and Ryleigh Holmes, of Newburyport.

Juniors: Gabriele Logan, of Newburyport; Josh Horgan, of Merrimac; Matthew Miller, of Amesbury; and Emmanual Jean-Baptiste, of Haverhill.

Sophomores: Isaiah Bacon, of Haverhill; Caleb Cook, of Haverhill; Liam Dunphy, of Haverhill; Tyler Magowan, of Amesbury; Ethan Dang, of Haverhill; Nick Ferragine, of Amesbury; and Cody Pierce of Haverhill.

Freshmen: Gianna Iannuzzo-Christie, of Haverhill; Sedric Miner, of Ipswich, Ryan Link, of Haverhill; Max Aja, of Haverhill; and Sam Komola of Haverhill.

About FIRST Robotics:
The FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport and the rigors of science. Under strict rules, limited resources, and the guidance of volunteer mentors, including engineers, teachers, business professionals, parents, alumni and more, teams of 25+ students build and program robots to perform challenging tasks against a field of competitors.

They must also raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and perform community outreach. In addition to learning valuable STEM and life skills, participants are eligible to apply for $80 million in college scholarships. 

Whittier Tech