FIRST LEGO Team Wins Award at Regionals

News Date : 12/16/2016

Saint Thomas Academy Middle School FIRST LEGO Team Wins Programming Award at Regional Tournament

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Dec. 16, 2016 – The Saint Thomas Academy Middle School “Cadets” FIRST® LEGO® Team won the “Woods Division” programming award at the 2016-17 Regional Tournament held at Central Middle School in Eden Prairie. The “Cadets” and “Cadets 2” teams were among 32 teams competing in the regional tournament. Each team competing worked on projects associated with the 2016-17 national competition theme “Animal Allies.”

The Cadets team consisted of 7th and 8th graders:
• A. Groh ’21 
• E. Hiew ’21
• P. O'Brien ’21
• N. Bartlett ’22
• J. Stroebel ’22

This team’s Animal Allies research project was to attach sensors to deep sea creatures to help map the bottom of bodies of water and help predict earthquakes. The team won the programming award for their sophistication in programming, according to the teams’ moderator and middle school math teacher Kim Wald.

She said, “They utilized sensors and loops as well as documented their work. One of my favorite points in that judging round was when judges suggested they use ‘My Blocks’ within the LEGO Programming, and a team member compared it to a java programming component. To which the judge replied, ‘Exactly!’”

The Cadets 2 team members were:
• C. Crutchfield ‘22
• M. LeMay ’21
• M. DelVacchio ’22
• E. Kalafatich ’21     

The Cadets 2 challenge was to train vultures to use their great sense to locate objects and people, which may be less expensive than other search methods. The team talked with professionals about training police dogs as well as training vultures to work with humans.

About FIRST LEGO League
FIRST® LEGO® League in Minnesota
(MN FLL®) is part of an international robotics program that gives more than 200,000 4-8th graders in 63 countries the opportunity to apply science, technology, engineering and math concepts to real-world problems. Teams collaborate to research, build and program an autonomous robot to score points on a thematic playing surface (the Robot Game) and create an innovative solution to a problem correlated to the yearly theme (the Project), all while guided by the FLL Core Values. These three elements; the Robot Game, the Project and FLL Core Values make up what is called The Challenge.

About Saint Thomas Academy
Founded in 1885, Saint Thomas Academy is an all-male, college preparatory, Catholic, military/leadership school committed to preparing young men to succeed in college and in life. The Academy challenges its students, currently grades 7-12, to excel academically, spiritually, morally and physically in and out of the classroom. In the fall of 2017, 6th grade will be added to the Saint Thomas Academy Middle School. It is fully accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS); a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), and the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States (AMCSUS). For more information, please visit 

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Media Contact:
Amy Nugent
For Saint Thomas Academy


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