BY JOE MARVILLI
When it comes to robotics, this Fresh Meadows school is at the top of the class.
George J. Ryan Middle School 216’s robotics team, the Ryan Lions, not only came in first place for the FIRST Lego League tournament for Queens, but then went on to victory at the Citywide competition. MS 216 also served as the host of the tournament for their home borough.
The Queens competition at MS 216 was coordinated by Peter Xanthus, a science and technology teacher at the school. Around 1,000 participants from more than 35 schools came to Fresh Meadows to prove that their robots were the best. But it was the host school that came out on top.
From there, MS 216 went to the Jacob Javits Center in early April, facing off against more than 70 other schools. Despite the tough competition, the school persevered and scored 475 points and 474 points respectively on the Robot Performance portion of the two events. After the first two runs, the team looked like it was in trouble, as it was in 48th place with a score of 108. On the last run of the day though, they bounced back to come in first place.
“It was amazing! The hard work that our students and Mr. Xanthus put in to not only outshine our local Queens schools, but to also take first place at the City championships was unbelievable,” Reginald Landeau, the school’s principal, said. “I am so proud of our students exhibiting Ryan Pride with a come from behind victory.”
FIRST Lego League is a robotics program for students between the ages of 9 and 16 years old. Designed to get kids excited and engaged with science and technology, the league puts the students firmly in the driver’s seat, letting them use their innovation and knowledge to assemble and program their own autonomous robot. The robot is created using the Lego Mindstorms robot set.
Once the team gets the robot running, it works to score points on a thematic playing surface, creating an innovative solution to a problem as part of their project. The Robot Game, Project and FLL Core Values are the three elements on the league’s annual challenge.
Besides the science skills the students learn, FIRST Lego League also focuses on fostering self-confidence, communication and leadership. Teams also fundraise, create their own identity and go on field trips, adding to the comradery between its members.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.