NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Sir Isaac Newton wasn't the only one to have a great idea come from an apple.

The Academy of Our Lady of Peace Robotics Team recently won the Second Place Presentation Award at the First Lego League (“FLL”) Robotics State Finals for their work on food safety, using an apple as their focus.

FLL Robotics is a global competition wherein each team must research and solve a current real-world issue. This year the challenge was related to food safety. Each team must also assemble and program a robot which completes many designated tasks in the competition.

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The Academy Robotics team, Panther Power, studied and researched food safety and contamination issues, ultimately focusing on the apple. They spent countless hours conducting experiments and discussing the causes of food contamination as well as possible solutions. They proposed a simple, effective tool to reduce contamination of apples before they reach the consumer. To further their goal of helping food distributors remove pesticides and other toxins from apples prior to sale, they shared their invention with local supermarkets.

At the FLL Regional Competition in Clifton, Panther Power presented its research and innovative solution to a panel of judges.They were awarded First Place for Core Values, recognizing their teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills. The Panther Power Team was among the top competitors and was invited to compete at the State Finals, as it has every year since The Academy’s Robotics program began four years ago.

On Dec.10, Panther Power competed against the top 48 teams in New Jersey at the FLL Robotics State Finals. The team performed well and achieved impressive scores from the judges. Panther Power won The Second Place Project and Research Award, recognizing the team’s clear, informative and creative presentation of its research and innovative solution. Alys Taylor is Panther Power's coach.

Panther Power mentor, Dr. Gail Seelig, was awarded the Mentor Award, recognizing her commitment and dedication to the students’ exploration of science.

The Academy of Our Lady of Peace is a private Catholic School located in downtown New Providence with students in grades Pre-K3 through Grade 8. Offering a challenging academic curriculum and many enrichment activities within a religious atmosphere, The Academy of Our Lady of Peace strives to inspire and prepare its students to achieve their personal best. For more information, please visit www.TheAcademyOLP.org or call the school office at (908) 464-8657.