MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The US FIRST Robotics organization has invited the Columbia High School (CHS) senior robotics team, Team 4102, to the World Championships in St. Louis in April.

This is exciting news for Team 4102, since they had previously been on a "waitlist," stated Allan Tumolillo, CHS Robotics Club Adviser. According to Tumolillo, based on Team 4102's excellent robot and qualification for the NJ State Semifinals, as well as the team's strong historical record, they now have a spot in the competition.

Since the robotics club was established in the 2010-2011 school year, it has won the following awards:

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  • New Jersey State champions in 2011 and 2013. In both years Team 4102 was “captain” of the winning alliance (playoffs require 3 teams in an alliance). In 2013 Team 4102 shared it with another CHS team, Team 5332 – the first time two teams from the same high school shared a state championship.
  • Vermont State champions (2013).
  • Pennsylvania state champions (2012).
  • Team 4102 was also a semifinalist in several state tournaments: the downstate NY state region (2012); NJ in 2012, 2016 and 2017. This year Team 7959, the sophomore team, made it to the Quarterfinals in NJ.
  • Inspire Award winner in 2014 (goes to best overall club in state).
  • Second place in World Championships in St. Louis (one of the top 6 teams in world) in 2011.
  • Semifinalist in the World Championships in St. Louis (one of the top 12 teams in world) in 2013.

In addition, this year the CHS Robotics Club, in conjunction with the Achieve Foundation, was awarded a large grant from the Qualcomm Corporation to initiate a program to include students with disabilities in robotics in an after school program, stated Tumolillo.

This program is the first of its type in the US FIRST organization, and Qualcomm is one of the largest funders of US FIRST. "This program has the potential to turn into a multi-year grant to have team members work with students with disabilities," said Tumolillo.

With their spot at the World Championships secured, the next step for the Robotics team is a fundraising plan for financing the trip to St. Louis. A GoFundMe campaign has been started here, which has raised over $2,000 of the $12,000 goal.