FLANDERS, NJ - The Master Builders from Lafayette School and the WaterGirls of Southern Boulevard School, represented Chatham over the weekend at the North Jersey FIRST Robotics competition held at Mount Olive High School.

The occasion was the FIRST Lego League State Championship, leading up to the World FIRST Robotics congress in April 2015 in St Louis.

The Chatham Master Builders was one of 60 NJ FIRST Lego League teams (grades 4-8) that reached the championship round of qualifications after scoring the highest at the previous round, in the Robot competition at the Nov 22 in Bridgewater.

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Coaches Wendy Chan and Crystal Paone led a team of seven aspiring Roboticists: Willie Chan, Trevor Sherman, Michael D’Antonio, Vishan Vyas, Justin King, Sam Paone and Tyler Cooper. The team took home the "Inspire" Award on their first year of participation, a great achievement for teams comprised of 4th and 5th graders only.

The Chatham WaterGirls, an all-girls Robotics Junior FIRST Lego League team with students Manaal Qureshi, Tania Mouline, Kiera Redmond, Despina Varvatsoulis and Meimei Bolton were coached by Laura Noonan and parents. The WaterGirls claimed the coveted "Amazing Movement Award,"  featured in their "Floating Sea School," a lego based platform designed to promote exploration and learning about the oceans.

Representing the team, Qureshi and Mouline, two of Samantha Stojanov's Design and Technology students, who explained to the judges that "with the right size of the gears, we can adjust the speed of the movement so it's not too fast." 

"We are very proud of the Chatham WaterGirls, the Chatham MasterBuilders and the 15 other Chatham Robotics League teams and their respective coaches for their participation in the 2014/2015 FIRST Robotics season" Nabil Mouline, president of ChathamSTEM, said. "They are part of this generation of Chatham  girls and boys for whom building and programing a robot is as natural as kicking a soccer ball or throwing a baseball.

"They will soon be joined by hundreds of kids and their parent-coaches interested in the other STEM Clubs we are building, the Chatham Computer League, Chatham Making Club and the Chatham Science Research Club."

The Robotics teams will be exhibiting their projects during the ChathamSTEM Winter STEM Festival Jan 9-10-11 at the Chatham Middle School and the Chatham High School.
The ChathamSTEM Robotics program is sponsored by Theorem, the Chatham-based global, industry-leading, full-service digital marketing partner, and Chatham artiuisans Codfish Park Design and Walkley Works. More information about ChathamSTEM in www.chathamstem.org