Teamwork and Friendly Competition Define Second Annual Deer Park Invitational Offseason Event

Competition Highlights Benefits of School Robotics Programs for Students

A spirit of cooperation and teamwork permeated the gymnasium at Deer Park High School on Saturday, October 21, 2006 as robots took center court during the Deer Park Invitational. The invitational is a yearly offseason robotics competition sponsored by the Deer Park UFSD, School Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc (SBPLI) and Long Island FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). Friendly competition coaxed problem solving skills and stellar sportsmanship from the ten high school teams, creating an engaging learning environment focused on the science of physics and the field of engineering.

The 2nd Annual Deer Park Invitational was designed and implemented to showcase the benefits of robotics programs on students, schools and their communities. With the exception of two rookie teams (Walt Whitman and Southampton), who utilized borrowed robots, participating teams used the robots they built for the 2006 regional competition, held at Hofstra University in March. Students navigated their robots in a game called AIM HIGH, participating in Practice Rounds and Fun Matches early in the morning and then Qualifying Matches and Elimination Rounds later in the day. Each round/match was played with two alliances, composed of three teams each. The object was to attain a higher score than your opponent alliance by scoring balls in a center or corner goals, and by having robots on a platform at the end of the match.

Residents, teachers and administrators from Deer Park and other Long Island school districts attended the event which included many matches featuring rookie and pre-rookie drivers preparing for the 2007 regional competition. The winners of the invitational were teams from the following districts: Port Washington, Hauppauge, Baldwin, and Plainedge. Finalists included: Bay Shore, Plainview-Old Bethpage, Deer Park, and Miller Place.

"We planned this event not only as a competition about the design and building of 130 pound sophisticated robots, but as an opportunity to create an atmosphere whereby students can also develop maturity, professionalism, teamwork and mentoring skills, thereby enriching their lives. We were not disappointed," said Fred Breithut, founder of School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc.

“It was wonderful to have been able to provide an opportunity to include rookie teams, giving them a chance to gain practical experience, while competing with veteran teams,” said Janet Anderson, director of the LI FIRST robotics program. She continued, “It is always our hope that students will be inspired to turn their affinity for science and math into a career path, leading them to study engineering, technology or science in college.”